A discussion of the changing roles of women in literature

They have demanded their position in the community, openly exercising their rights, and thus are acknowledged as significant members in society. However, this was not the case a century ago.

A discussion of the changing roles of women in literature

At the beginning of the century, women enjoyed few of the legal, social, or political rights that are now taken for granted in western countries: Women were expected to remain subservient to their fathers and husbands.

Their occupational choices were also extremely limited.

A discussion of the changing roles of women in literature

Middle- and upper-class women generally remained home, caring for their children and running the household. Lower-class women often did work outside the home, but usually as poorly-paid domestic servants or laborers in factories and mills.

The onset of industrialization, urbanization, as well as the growth of the market economy, the middle class, and life expectancies transformed European and American societies and family life.

For most of the eighteenth century through the first few decades of the nineteenth century, families worked together, dividing farming duties or work in small-scale family-owned businesses to support themselves. With the rapid mercantile growth, big business, and migration to larger cities afterhowever, the family home as the center of economic production was gradually replaced with workers who earned their living outside the home.

In most instances, men were the primary "breadwinners" and women were expected to stay at home to raise children, to clean, to cook, and to provide a haven for returning husbands.

Most scholars agree that the Victorian Age was a time of escalating gender polarization as women were expected to adhere to a rigidly defined sphere of domestic and moral duties, restrictions that women increasingly resisted in the last two-thirds of the century.

Scholarly analysis of nineteenth-century women has included examination of gender roles and resistance on either side of the Atlantic, most often focusing on differences and similarities between the lives of women in the United States, England, and France.

While the majority of these studies have concentrated on how white, middle-class women reacted to their assigned domestic or private sphere in the nineteenth century, there has also been interest in the dynamics of gender roles and societal expectations in minority and lower-class communities.

Although these studies can be complementary, they also highlight the difficulty of making generalizations about the lives of women from different cultural, racial, economic, and religious backgrounds in a century of steady change.

A discussion of the changing roles of women in literature

Where generalizations can be made, however, "the woman question," as it was called in debates of the time, has been seen as a tendency to define the role of women in terms of private domesticity.

Most often, depictions of the lives of nineteenth-century women, whether European or American, rich or poor, are portrayed in negative terms, concentrating on their limited sphere of influence compared to that of men from similar backgrounds.

In some cases, however, the private sphere of nineteenth-century women had arguably more positive images, defining woman as the more morally refined of the two sexes and therefore the guardian of morality and social cohesion. Women were able to use this more positive image as a means for demanding access to public arenas long denied them, by publicly emphasizing and asserting the need for and benefits of a more "civilized" and "genteel" influence in politics, art, and education.

Through their novels, letters, essays, articles, pamphlets, and speeches these and other nineteenth-century women portrayed the often conflicting expectations imposed on them by society. These women, along with others, expressed sentiments of countless women who were unable to speak, and brought attention and support to their concerns.

Modern critical analyses often focus on the methods used by women to advance their cause while still maintaining their delicate balance of propriety and feminine appeal by not "threatening" men, or the family unit.This course looks closely at literature by and/or about women as it informs their gendered identity.

Historical and chronological discussion of gender role definition and the relationship between that and how women are viewed and view themselves is a key component of this course. HECER Discussion€Paper€No Role€of€Gender€Equality€in€Development –€A€Literature€Review€* Abstract To€get€a€sense€of€the€role€that€gender€equality€plays€in€the€process€of€development€and.


While historical documents chronicle their struggle for freedom and self-identity, literature and art reflect the emerging and ever-changing roles of women in American society.

Objectives Students will examine primary documents in order to understand the timeline of events associated with the women’s suffrage movement. The Changing Roles of Women in Literature from Late 8th Century B.C. to 4th Century A.D. The changing role of women in literature from the late 8th century B.

C. to the 4th century A. D. is evident in that women become even more subservient in later works. If in fact literature is a reflection of our reality, that despite individual perceptions it mirrors social manners, then women’s changing roles, be they social, political or .

Feminism in Literature Women in the 19th Century - Essay gender consciousness and reform as the roles assigned women became increasingly at odds with social reality. works of literature.

The changing roles of women in literature