In Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650-1750, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich details the roles and lives of women in Northern New England from 1650-1750. Good Wives is a study in role definition and of day to day, season to season, and year to year life of women during this time. Ulrich not only answers the questions what ii meant to be a “loving mother”, and “obedient wife,” and a “friendly neighbor” – an idealized epitaph of the time – she answers the questions of what did women do day to day, season to season, and year to year? “What were the concrete realities of their lives in northern New England?” And “how did these differ for men?”
In Judy Brady’s essay, “I Want a Wife,” she examines why she would like to have a wife. Brady believes that a wife performs all house chores and the husband does nothing, but to expect the wife to do everything for him. Brady tries to persuade the reader to look at a husband viewpoint of what a wife should be. The essay was written during the early 1960’s, during the second wave of the feminist movement in America. Brady is pushed by certain reasons to write, “I Want a Wife” to show the humanist humor.
Wilton later describes how, by turning away from the heterosexual male-female institution, women are taking a crucial step on the path of liberation. Although a woman may be content having relations with a male, the male’s dominant role in society should be enough persuasion for the former to leave such structured relationship so as to explore a freer partnership that goes against societal expectations.
Marriage, a broad theme in this book, can be broken down throughout. Emma’s sister has gone off after getting married and left her alone. After her sister’s marriage, Emma proclaimed that she was not destined for love and made herself the town’s unofficial matchmaker. The entire novel is built around relationships and matchmaking, with Emma and Mr. Knightly, Harriet and Robert Martin/ Elton, and Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill.
In Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen introduces the major thematic concept of marriage and financial wealth. Throughout the novel, Austen depicts various relationships that exhibit the two recurring themes. Set during the regency period, the perception of marriage revolves around a universal truth. Austen claims that a single man “must be in want of a wife.” Hence, the social stature and wealth of men were of principal importance for women. Austen, however, hints that the opposite may prove more exact: a single woman, under the social limitations, is in want of a husband. Through this speculation, Austen acknowledges that the economic pressure of social acceptance serves as a foundation for a proper marriage.
Many people believe that marriage is important in this day and age, but it holds little significance compared to the importance of marriage in the Victorian era. In the Victorian era women were to get married to a man of the same or a better social status, be good wives, and be a mother to her husband's children. Very few marriages started with love, but a woman's life is not complete without being married. Over time, the role of married women has evolved a great deal and they now have rights and privileges. John Stuart Mill was one of the great thinkers of the Victorian era, and his essay The Subjection of Women tells how few privileges women had and that they were slaves to their husbands. He also says that women are their own people and
In her book Marriage a History Stephanie Coontz explains the male breadwinner family model and its dominance in family life during the 40’s, 50’s, and early 60’s. An illustration of the male breadwinner model is composed of a father, mother, and two children; typically a boy and girl close in age. Funded by their father’s well paying middle class salary, the wife and children live a comfortable life in suburbia and participate regularly in consumer trends. Perceived as the head of the household, the father was the sole financial provider. On the other hand the mother was the head of domestic life and was responsible for the children. The popular 1950’s TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet exemplified this family model. With regard to the male breadwinner family model, imagine having eight other brothers and sisters. Imagine growing up without a mother, and with a father who worked constantly. Then consider living this life alongside your peers who come from the “normal” male breadwinner families Coontz describes… How would your family differ from your peers? What would be your thoughts and feelings towards family life? More importantly, how would these unique circumstances change your perception of the nuclear family?
In over half a century, marriage has transformed from being a social requirement to simply being an option in today’s society. What has caused this change? Many institutions in our society have changed drastically along with marriage. Although these institutions have not caused marriage to be optional, they do strongly correlate with the decreased value. The economy, education, religion, and government have all altered since the 1950s. When any institution encounters a change, all other institutions are affected. Family is a major institution in society, and I believe that marriage is an important aspect of this institution. Cohabitation, religion, women in the work world and divorce have all effected the way marriage is viewed today.
During the early 1800s into the nineteenth century it was believed that men and women came from two separate spheres. These spheres influenced the way gender roles were shaped and perceived. Suggesting that women belonged in the household, apart of the private sphere and men belonged in the economic world, apart of the public sphere. Men and women were understood to be polar opposites and because of this, women were oppressed. Female sexuality was defined as “passionlessness,” and only for the purpose of reproduction. We learn that women were considered “voracious” for expressing their sexuality however, men were encouraged to express their sexuality as part of maintaining power, prestige, and masculinity. (Cott, 1978, 222). Men
play The Cherry Orchard show the women partners as incapable of the mutual respect and understanding necessary for a sustained and fulfilling committed relationship. Hedda, Thea, Madame,Varya, and even young Anya cannot enter or maintain a marriage because each of them have not yet self-actualized. None of the relationships in the plays offer any type of fulfillment. The two writers are alike in the way that their portrayals pose these two questions: What may a woman give and receive from her partner/husband if she herself lacks self-nourishment and balance? Societal expectations and, in the case of the The Cherry Orchard, an aristocracy losing its wealth and power precipitate each woman’s crisis.
Wealth and property feature heavily in the wife’s portrayal of marriage and along with the issue of her independence is responsible for many of her marital conflicts. The first three husbands "riche and olde" were married each for "hir land and hir tresoor" then discarded as the Wife looks for other prospects. When one of these husbands tries to restrict the Wife’s spending she refuses to let him be both "maister of my body and of my good" so refuses sexual favours in return for her freedom as she will not become a mere possession. She generalizes that women "love no man that taketh or keepth charge" suggesting an element of independence and individualism in 14th century marriage. The wife resents being controlled; she
Marriage is the joining of two people as husband and wives according to laws and customs. In our society today, women get married of their own free will and gain respect from their spouse. "A dream of the 21st century" is a story written by " Winnifred Harper Cooly". It is about a young women's dream. She imagines that women in the 21st century will have a better place in the society. Ideal marriages in the 19th century were very hard to achieve and most of the time, they were without true love. This short story portrays that women of that time would marry someone to overcome financial difficulties. It also describes the lack of respect between the married couples.
Jane Austen’s novel is commanded by women; Pride and Prejudice explores the expectations of women in a society that is set at the turn of the 19th century. Throughout the plot, Austen’s female characters are all influenced by their peers, pressures from their family, and their own desires. The social struggle of men and women is seen throughout the novel. Characters, like Elizabeth, are examples of females not acting as proper as women were supposed to, while other women like Mrs. Bennett allow themselves to be controlled by men and society. Mr. Collins is a representation of the struggles males deal with in a novel dominated by women. The theme of marriage is prominent during Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Marriage can be examined in
For years, many scholars have provided many discussions over the topic of gender and sexuality. However, one needs to ask themselves: Are these two topics, gender and sexuality, useful as a category for historical analysis? The articles written by both Joan W. Scott and Afsaneh Najmabadi, answer such a question. By critically examining and assessing their two article, can the usefulness of gender and sexuality as a category for historical analysis be proven.