The Effects of Feminism in Southern Literature

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The Effects of Feminism in Southern Literature

The topic that I have come to terms on to do this final paper is that of feminism in southern literature. For this topic, I chose to read 4 novels written during the late 18th to early 19th century that took place in the South. These novels are Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. All of these novels differ in many ways; however, they all contribute certain characteristics of that of the ideal “Southern Woman.” The main themes that I have identified in my research can be put into four categories. They are 1) Setting and genre, 2) “Heroine,” 3) Race and Gender, 4) Attitude. To start off this fine investigative draft, I am going to begin with Attitude. Before, you say anything, attitude is relevant. However, it doesn’t just pertain to the characters, but also the entire book. In Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, a journal article written by Renee Hausman in The English Journal, Hausman discusses the importance of the study of “the black woman” in the novel, “Their Eyes Were Watching God”, from the students’ perspective. In the article, Hausman depicts the main character of the novel, Janie Woods, as being “an extraordinarily vibrant woman, who lives according to her own dreams and ideals.” As she continues, Hausman talks about each of Woods’ marriages and how she [Woods] thought and reared that “the myth of marriage was the only route of expression and satisfaction for a woman.” Woods even says “Did marriage compel love like the sun the day?” (p.21) Hausman goes through each of Woods marriages, from the first to Logan Killicks, whom she did not love, to finally the marriage to Tea Cake that gave her happiness, and discusses the pros and cons of each. After Tea Cake’s death, Woods says, “Ah done been tuh de horizon and back and now Ah kin set heah in mah house and live by...
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