Women's Roles in the Late 19th Century
An examination of women's roles in "The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton and "Washington Square" by Henry James.
# 118864 | 2,423 words | 0 sources | 2009 |
Published on Mar 09, 2010 in Literature (American) , English (Analysis) , English (Comparison) , Women Studies (Culture) , Women Studies (Women and Society)
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This paper analyzes how "The Age of Innocence" by Edith Wharton and "Washington Square" by Henry James depict the societal construct of the proper way for a woman to act, but also contrast the differences between male and female perceptions of proper feminine behavior. The paper discusses how the books show the idea that social customs were an important part of the late nineteenth century.
From the Paper:"Both of these novels support the idea that social customs were an important part of the late nineteenth century. The characters demonstrate that each person had a role to play based on social rank and gender. The male characters believe that the women should - and do - trust them completely with decisions about their lives, because they are not smart or logical enough to make the proper decisions for themselves. Wharton chooses to demonstrate that the women are safe within their roles, not because they need men to protect them, but because they can hide behind their domestic facade while subtly influencing the choices and actions of the men around them. James' commentary appears to be of the same mind as Wharton's. He illustrates that women do have the ability to think for themselves, though he pairs that assertion with a claim that if women speak their minds, they will continue to be disregarded because men will still believe that they know what is best. Wharton and James agree that for a late nineteenth century woman to have power beyond what the "woman's role" allows her, she must disguise her true actions by playing along."
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Women's Roles in the Late 19th Century (2010, March 09) Retrieved July 11, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/comparison-essay/women-roles-in-the-late-19th-century-118864/
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