Social Expectations of Women

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Kimberly Griffis
Eula Thompson
English 101
Tues/Thurs 9:30

The Effect Social Expectations of the Nineteenth Century Had on Women Living in That Time Period

The behaviors and desires of women the nineteenth century were impacted strongly by the social expectations of their time. Kate Chopin's character, Louise Mallard, from "The Story of an Hour", Emily Grierson from "A Rose for Emily" by Willliam Faulkner, and the character Roselily from Alice Walker's Roselily are all examples of women restricted by the time they live in. Women in the nineteenth century were expected to get married and to take care of their husband as well as cooking, cleaning, and looking after their children. Women were expected to put aside their dreams and desires and, in a sense, be shadows of their husbands.

"The Story of an Hour" is about a young woman, Mrs. Mallard, who is trapped in a marriage with a man that she is not in love with because it is what is expected of her. Back then women could not divorce their husbands and were married for life. When Mrs. Mallard was told of the death of her husband she immediately mourned his death, but quickly began to feel happy at the thought of her new life. Mrs. Mallard dreaded that she would be living her entire life for her husband. Women in the nineteenth century put all their time and energy into pleasing their husbands, therefore their dreams and ambitions were pushed aside in order to take of their families. Women also could not get remarried if their husbands passed away. In Mrs. Mallard's case, this was a wonderful thing because she could finally live her life the way she wanted because she no longer had to dote on her husband. Mrs. Mallard loved her husband, but only as a friend. Many marriages in the nineteenth century were arranged for convienence or social status and not for love.

"A Rose for Emily" has many great examples of how women should behave in the nineteenth century, even though Emily Grierson did not do what...
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