In the life of the 12th Century English commoners, women were undoubtedly inferior to men. They were not respected as equals, were seen as weak, they depended on men to provide, were left to simple and menial labor, and were subordinate in and out of marriage (ZinePress). In his novel, Pillars of the Earth, Follet uses several examples to display this sexist lifestyle. At one point in the novel, young Aliena tries to sell a sack of wool, which was a rather lucrative commodity at the time. Lucrative to men, at least, for Aliena is only offered half the normal pay because she’s a woman. Later, Aliena marries a man who forces her to sleep at the foot of their bed, and even attempts to rape her. However, by law it was not rape, for she belonged to him and had to follow his orders as long as they were married.
The greatest suppressor of feminine equality is easily the novel’s antagonist, the powerful William Hamleigh. In his eyes, women are objects at the will of men. This is seen many times through Pillars of the Earth, as William often seeks... [continues]
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