The Cult of Domesticity

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Alex Bui
hr. 5
25/1/12
The Cult of Domesticity was a guideline that required women to be inferior and submissive compared to men. Many of Emily Dickinson's poems were written in secret because of the treatment of women in her time period. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin were written from their position of male dominance and domesticated women. Many of the ideals specifically submissiveness, domesticity and piety present in the Cult of Domesticity, are represented in these stories and poems. “These are the days when the birds come back” and “I heard a fly buzz when I died” by Emily Dickinson display the ideals of submissiveness and piety in women of the time period. When Dickinson writes, “Oh the last Communion in the Haze.” (Dickinson, 6) it represents the religious necessities of piety that were supposed to be in women. Here she wants the children and future generation to believe in Christianity. Piety is also shown when Dickinson adds, “When the king be witnessed in his power” she is referring to the king as god. She is describing his power and people having to worship him. Submissiveness is also show in many other poems. When she writes,”willed my keepsakes signed away, what portion of me I could make assignable” this shows they were not in control of their life and men were control them to their will. Submissiveness is also shown in “The Story of an Hour” In “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard experienced a myriad of conflicting emotions throughout an hour because of the loss of her husband. When Chopin says,” She wept at once with sudden wild abandonment” and “She sank, pressed down by physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.” both represent her domesticity. She was reliant on her husband for life before. He was her main driving force of her life before his supposed death and was her only reason of living. Until that point she lived only for his purposes and was now...
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