My Brilliant Career
--Fact and Fiction through Film--
My Brilliant Career- Miles Franklin
Sybylla Melvyn is a headstrong, free-spirited young woman. Her enthusiasm towards wanted to be different in the 1890’s and become a writer, became a struggle but turns out well when her book gets published. She defied the expectations of the society’s expectations to become the woman she wanted to be, and all without the use of a man.
Harry Beecham, a stereotypical young man, which believed that women were maids, child bearers and cooks. After an expedition to Sybylla’s Grandmothers house, and an indescribable meeting, his expectations are drastically changed.
Aunt Helen is a woman, whose husband left her, and degraded her stature to neither widow, nor wife, nor maid. Because of this, she was not considered a legitimate woman within 1890’s society and was felt and seen as useless. She is well educated because of the riches of her family, but without a husband, wasn’t seen as worthy.
Sybylla is a stubborn and opinionative young woman that grew up in the early 20th century, in Australia. She has the opportunity to marry a rich, young man, but rejects him to fulfil her dream and keep her independence. Around the time of her meeting the rich man, named Harry Beecham, her father became in debt to a neighbour. As her father started to get behind on his debts, she takes a job as governess/housekeeper to keep her family afloat.
The statement, “These issues are not relevant to a contemporary audience. Young people today are more concerned with other issues” is not entirely true. Some families still follow the older traditions, but there are not as many nowadays. Women are more respected now, married or not, in comparison to the time eras before the 20th century.
If women were either born or married rich, then the husband would not let them work as it would degrade their social stature, whereas nowadays it is more common for the wives to take up a job to occupy their free time. Their main jobs, once married, consisted of cleaning, childbirth, entertainment and cooking. Nowadays, women have both the choice of a housewife or a worker, which are huge changes for civilisation and also a step forward for equality. In the 1960’s, women didn’t have any say in what occurred, not even in terms of contraception. They weren’t allowed to take ‘The Pill’ or have an abortion, they couldn’t go to University, weren’t paid as equally as men and banks also didn’t loan to women if they were single. Some, maybe even most, were being sexually harassed or abused by ‘superior’ males and if chosen to take them to court for justice, the men came out victorious.
Around the early 20th century, women were not respected unless they were married, even classified as illegitimate. For example, when Sybylla’s aunt was left by her husband, she felt useless in her own eyes and in the eyes of the community. She quoted, “I am neither widow, nor wife, nor maid.” This sentence shows just how different times were back then, in proportion to modern day life.
In recent years, women are more respected, whether single or married, which can show how much times have changed in the last century or two. All women can get a job, but there are those few women that still choose to become a housewife, not liking the idea of working but instead decide to look after the children, cook and clean. Many women showed great intelligence when seen as equal, which was hidden when men were seen as top of the food chain. Examples of great discoveries because of this equality include astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, who discovered the concept of blinking stars, in 1908- even finding a way to look further out into the universe, Cecilia...