Women In A Wagner Matinee And The Awakening

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Topics: Woman, Willa Cather
During the late 19th and early 20th century, women were known as second-class citizens. So much so that they weren’t legally allowed to vote until the 19th amendment was passed in 1920, and it took the National Women’s Party picketing the white house in 1913 to do so. Some female authors, however, saw through the walls of an every day life at the time. These authors portrayed women from a realist’s point of view, making faults and troubles evident. Authors like Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, and Sarah Orne Jewett were able to portray the struggles a woman would have in the time in a way nobody else had dared to.

Willa Cather was an author who wrote about the woman’s place in society in “A Wagner Matinee.” Cather criticized the way women were forced to give up their passions for their husband and family.
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Chopin’s novel, The Awakening, tells the story of a young woman stuck in a marriage she hates while being in love with another man. The first realization of individuality by the main character is described as: “A certain light was beginning to dawn dimly within her, -- the light which, showing the way, forbids it…” (642). The light in Edna Pontillier that is being ignited is the thought that she is a free woman, and can do what she wants. One that was frowned upon and ignored during the time period. Chopin also highlights the secret desires a woman might have during the time period in “The Story of an Hour.” A young woman, Mrs. Mallard, has just been informed her husband has died in a train accident. Rather than think sad things, Mrs. Mallard thinks: “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature…” (594). Chopin explains the internal struggle women had between loving their husbands and loving themselves. Also, Sarah Orne Jewett was another author in the realist

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