”Weekend” by Fay Weldon
In the short story we are introduced to a family taking their weekly weekend trip to their cottage in the countryside. For the most part, the story takes place at the cottage itself, and here we get a good insight into the family’s, and especially Martha’s, life. The themes in this story are old vs. new norms and traditions relating to gender-roles within marriage and society.
From the beginning the 3rd person narrator introduces us to Martha, a middle-aged woman of 38 ,who is married to Martin and together they have 3 children. It is through Martha’s eyes that the story is told. We meet Martha and the family as they are about to spend their weekend at their country-house. This particular weekend is probably not much different from most other weekends, and this you can see in the title as well, because the title is indefinite and is called “Weekend” and not “The Weekend”. Martha is trying to be a dutiful house-wife at the same time as being a career woman. In essence, she is one big contradiction, trying to mix the roles of the traditional house-wife with the modern independent career woman and wanting to be a “super woman”, as described on page 312. Ultimately, she is forced to choose the former since Martin strongly disapproves of her putting her career before her family. This is illustrated by her sudden awareness on page 319, that she won’t be able to do any work on her work project, because all of the time has been spent on domestic duties and tending to Martin’s guests. Martin, in contrast to Martha, in many ways still appreciates the old traditional gender-roles: the man working to provide for the family, and the woman performing the domestic duties. It is certainly something that he doesn’t try to hide, and it is possible to notice the gender roles very clearly when they are preparing to go to the cottage: while Martha is rushing around the place getting everything and everybody ready, Martin, after coming home from work, is...
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