Death in the Woods

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The Stereotypical Roles of Woman as Portrayed In “The Death In the Woods”

Considered as one of Sherwood Anderson’s most distinctive stories, “The Death In the Woods” is a rather heart breaking about the lonely death of an old woman who had always been bound to lead a life inside of her home taking care of her family and animals in the farm. In most societies, there is always a typical women figure, whose roles are to service the husband and take care of the house as portrayed in this specific story. In the story, Mrs. Grimes leads a fully confined life. Her responsibilities that she has to achieve are monotonous and they seem to respresent all the ones that women all around are bound to follow. In this emotionally moving tale, Mrs. Grimes, because she is introduced to the reader as the stereotypical women figure of the time, fully lacks individuality. She regains this only when she dies. Throughout her life, she has focused only on the ‘feeding’ part of the womanhood, producing food for her husband as sons and the animals. As mentioned in the story, this has started in the beginning of her life with the Germans and has continued throughout her married life and still goes on to continue even after her death. (Even though she has dies, she still feeds the dogs that come by her body with the meat that she has with her.) In this sense, Mrs. Grimes’ life represents the motherhood itself; but in this case, it seems pretty much cruel for it is only narrowed down to only one specific action which is the responsibility of feeding. This is the case in most societies though. From the eyes of most men, women are seemed as the feeders and they are fully destined to only take care of the home in a private sphere. The public sphere though, is always in the hands of the men. In fact, Mrs. Grimes’ death can even be correlated with her being out of the private sphere which seems unlikely at the time. The fact that she leaves her home to go to the town and trade in her...
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