Fay Weldon’s short story ‘Weekend’ is a strongly feministic and satirical fiction about a weekend of a wife and working-mother in the 70s. The story concerns a well-off English middle-class family, at their country cottage. The central focus is on Martha, and much of the writing represents her stream of consciousness as she struggles to ensure that her family and guests are properly looked after. The misleading title soon proves to be an ironic comment on the weekend that Martha has to endure rather than enjoy, while she also struggles with social expectations of women from her husband and other adults.
The first paragraph alone serves to set the tone of the story, while also demonstrating a predominant theme, of gender inequality. Within the first few lines we are made aware of the catalogue of jobs it is Martha’s responsibility to take care of. On first reading this, we could have perhaps, been forgiven for thinking these were the jobs of a maid or house keeper, especially considering the phonetics of her name. Only when Martha has ‘everything packed into the car’ (Weldon, 1988, P.309) does her chauvinistic husband Martin stroll outside to ‘take the wheel’ (Weldon, 1988, P309) as any stereotypical man would. There is an implication that women shouldn’t go out to work if they have children demonstrated in the quote ‘it wasn't the best thing for the children, but that must be Martha's moral responsibility’ (Weldon, 1988, P309). This partly demonstrates the outdated social context of the 70s, but also hints at Martin’s desire for women to be in the role of society that will make him feel better and he deems appropriate. There are numerous examples of sexism and chauvinism, as well as insults and patronising remarks that Martha suffers at the hands of Martin. Including ‘Don’t get like your mother, darling,’ or the ‘Roars of laughter from Martin’ Martha receives when for complaining about his books she’ll have to clean. With some things that Martha takes...
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