The Questions of Gender in English Literature

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e questionsBrett Brown
Dr. Heather Duerre Humann
English Lit 206
30 November 2012
Questions of Gender
Throughout time in Early Modern England, both gender hierarchy and the husband's patriarchal job as the sole leader of his family and household were believed to have been the wishes of God. These beliefs were instilled in the literature of this time period mainly due to this great religious influence. The patriarch’s role was sometimes even seen equal to the Hand of God himself, but more commonly the king in the state. Both unmarried women and married women were often reminded of their rightful duty to anything requested from their husband, or any male for that matter. Also servants and children were the most dependent on their father’s and owner’s. This strict dependence can be seen throughout many novels and stories in English literature, some of which include “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter”, “Frankenstein”, “The Importance of Being Earnest”, “The Waiter’s Wife”, “Shakespeare’s Sister”, and “Death by Landscape”. “The Horse Dealer’s Daughter” is a story of a girl named Mabel, who is described as “sullen-looking” and feels alone because she was treated differently than her brothers. She is considered inferior due to her womanly duties of homemaking and care giving. This is an almost perfect example of the patriarchal set up during this time. Traditional gender roles are socially constructed to “keep women powerless” and elevate the “male point of view” (Tyson 84). However the father of Mabel and her brothers died without leaving anything behind for them. This leaves Joe, one of her brothers, forced to find wealth in a marriage arrangement. Also Mabel is not the most stable character due to her father leaving nothing for her. When Dr. Jack Ferguson tries to engage in conversation with Mabel she just looks at him with “dangerous” eyes. Her look towards Dr. Ferguson is often interpreted as her “first sign of life” shown. The other brothers that did not marry...
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