English Literature Essay

Topics: Middle Ages, Geoffrey Chaucer, Woman Pages: 8 (3256 words) Published: December 18, 2012
Medieval literature is a broad subject, encompassing essentially all written works available in Europe and beyond during the Middle Ages.The literature of this time was composed of religious writings as well as secular works. Just as in modern literature, it is a complex and rich field of study, from the utterly sacred to the exuberantly profane, touching all points in-between. Works of literature are often grouped by place of origin, language, and genre.The wave of the women’s movement begin in the 1960.it is true that women in the medieval period were never accorded full equality with men (although some sects, such as the Cathars, afforded women greater status and rights), some women were able to use their skill with the written word to gain renown. Religious writing was the easiest avenue—women who would later be canonized as saints frequently published their reflections, revelations, and prayers. Much of what is known about women in the Middle Ages is known from the works of nuns such as Clare of Assisi, Bridget of Sweden, and Catherine of Siena.Frequently, however, the religious perspectives of women were held to be unorthodox by those in power, and the mystical visions of such authors as Julian of Norwich and Hildegard of Bingen provide insight into a part of the medieval experience less comfortable for the institutions that ruled Europe at the time. Women wrote influential texts in the secular realm as well—reflections on courtly love and society by Marie de France and Christine de Pizan continue to be studied for their glimpses of medieval society. The role of women in literature has constantly been changing, especially in the last 250 years. In general, however, women's place in literature corresponds to the value placed on Culture and Nature Medieval England was not a comfortable place for most women. Medieval women invariably had a hard time in an era when many men lived harsh lives. A few women lived comfortable lives but Medieval society was completely dominated by men and women had to know 'their place' in such a society. Medieval society would have been very traditional. Women had little or no role to play within the country at large. Within towns, society would have effectively dictated what jobs a woman could do and her role in a medieval village would have been to support her husband. As well as doing her daily work, whether in a town or village, a woman would have had many responsibilities with regards to her family. Within a village, women would have done many of the tasks men did on the land. However, they were paid less for doing the same job. Documents from Medieval England relating to what the common person did are rare, but some do exist which examine what villages did. For reaping, a man could get 8 pence a day. For the same task, women would get 5 pence. For hay making, men would earn 6 pence a day while women got 4 pence. In a male dominated society, no woman would openly complain about this disparity. About 90% of all women lived in rural areas and were therefore involved in some form of farm work. In medieval towns, women would have found it difficult to advance into a trade as medievalguilds frequently barred women from joining them. Therefore, a skilled job as recognised by a guild was usually out of reach for any woman living in a town. Within towns, women were usually allowed to do work that involved some form of clothes making but little else. For many women, a life as a servant for the rich was all they could hope for. Such work was demanding and poorly rewarded. The law, set by men, also greatly limited the freedom of women. Women were Many women from rich backgrounds would have married when they were teenagers. Medieval society had a different outlook to children when compared to today. Children from poor families would have worked from the earliest age possible and they were treated as adults from the age of ten or eleven. Many girls from poor families did not get married until they...
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