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Feminist Theory Argumentative

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1232
  • Category: Women

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Loving and caring qualities of the husbands toward their wife’s. In “The Painted Door”, John, whose married to Anne, devotes a lot of his time to working in the farm. His goal is to pay off his mortgage as soon as possible and wants to be able to buy nice clothes for his wife. He’s takes his wife into consideration when it comes to her feelings. For example, “[John] tried to brighten [his wife].(Pg.232)” when she was upset about him going to his fathers hou… In the story by Sinclair Ross “The Painted Door” the main character, Anne, represents a weak, unhappy, selfish and insecure woman who is not pleased with her husband’s life choices. Employing the Feminist approach to “The Painted Door” reveals striking aspects that would otherwise be imperceptible. In society, often times a woman is shown as a person who is incapable of being alone; she will always need someone with her too keep her satisfied.

Firstly, one can see this when it shows how Anne feels about being alone and what she does to make sure she is not alone for the night. In addition, one can see how the nature of Anne’s relationship, affects her decisions and happiness. Lastly, one can see how this work affirms the stereotypical stay home woman. This story shows how society thinks women should be through the main character Anne, because of this John and Anne do not have a very healthy relationship which leads to John’s suicidal death. In the Short story “The Painted Door” woman are shown as stereotypical, weak house wives, who are incapable of being alone. One can see this by how Anne feels about being alone and what she does to make sure she has someone with her.

One example of this is when the narrator says, “She began to think about it now thoughts that outstripped her words that left her alone again with herself the ever-lurking silence.” (Ross, 290) This quote really shows how the author is portraying Anne as a woman who can not bare the burden of being alone. Anne is confused and is unsure what to do; she needs someone to give her something to do. An example of what Anne does to make sure she is not alone is shown when John says, “And on my way ill drop in at Steven’s place maybe he’ll come over tonight for a game of cards.” (Ross 289). This quote shows how John has to go out of his way to keep Anne happy because she is too nervous to stay…

The Painted Door” by Sinclair Ross are two thought provoking short stories with a unique style of writing. Both the stories through their unique writing style focus on Feminism during the mid 19th century. Both John Steinbeck and Sinclair Ross through their story are focusing on their main character’s frustration with their marriage, their sense of isolation from the world and their hidden desire to express themselves as a woman. In a sense both authors focus on the “unsatisfied lifestyle” of their main characters. “The Chrysanthemums” and “The Painted Door”, when approached from the archetypal viewpoint of “unsatisfied lifestyle” have comparable characters, symbols and plot. The main character of “The Chrysanthemums” and “The Painted Door” are comparable from the archetypal viewpoint of “unsatisfied lifestyle”. Elisa Allen, the main character of “The Chrysanthemums” and Ann, the main character of “The Painted Door” both live an unsatisfied lifestyle.

Over the years, the term Modernism has been defined as meaning many different things. This is surprising because modernism is a vital part of the basic literature we read/enjoy today. Like many other significant movements, there are influential people behind the movement. I would consider Katherine Mansfield as being the “unsung hero” that helped make modernism, specifically female modernism, what it is today. Modernism is most often defined as “The combination of revolt against Victorian fathers, recognition of the artist’s alienation, pursuit of the contemporary in language, psychology and behavior, creation of dynamic forms in which to contain a newly awakened sense of present reality” (Kaplan 6). Basically, it was a new movement which introduced new views on art, social behaviors and language. (It’s essential to know that these views contradicted the old “Victorian” views.) I think it’s very important to emphasize that literature is one of the most notable things which was influenced by modernism.

As you can imagine, if modernism had failed to become what it is today, we would still be living in the Victorian Era and have a different way of interpreting stories. Katherine Mansfield has been said to have helped spark the movement of “Female Modernism.” While Mansfield’s good friend Virginia Woolf is mostly credited for developing the underlying principles of this type of modernism (Kaplan), Kaplan argues that “Mansfield’s contribution should not be underestimated. Although she was six years younger than Woolf, Mansfield was the more innovative writer at the beginning of their friendship” (7). Mansfield’s writing career lasted from 1911 until she published her last work in 1922 (Nathan). This timeframe was a period of great significance for women and their quest for equality. In 1913, The National Women’s Party was formed. In 1919, the League of Women Voters was founded.

And only a year later, the right to vote was granted for women. This was a crucial time for women’s history because they finally were able to feel like individuals and not just the property of men. It is important to notice that all of Mansfield’s writings were published during the times of these great changes. This was possibly one of the greatest times of change this country has experienced and Mansfield’s writings were in the center of it all. One would think that Mansfield planned this and purposely started releasing stories at this time so she would be known for this movement, although that theory couldn’t be more false. It is said that it was never Mansfield’s intent to become a “feminist theorist” and she even wanted to separate herself from this subject. According to Sydney Kaplan, “she (Mansfield) neither allied herself with the suffrage movement nor studied the ideology of feminism. In fact, unlike those of Virginia Woolf, Mansfield’s critical essays and personal letters curiously lack much discussion of women’s role in literature” (Kaplan).

Kaplan then goes on to say how it was Mansfield’s “personal struggles, as well as her insights into the lives of women” that were the cause of her feminist consciousness. (I found it rather amusing that Mansfield has gotten the recognition of being part of this movement for women (and women writers) but this was never her intent in the first place.) Katherine Mansfield didn’t live a very long life; she died when she was only thirty-four. Yet her writings are still around and she is still considered one of the best short story authors of all time. When asked about Mansfield’s writing, famous scholarIan Gordon said, “She had the same kind of directive influence on the art of the short story as Joyce had on the novel. After Joyce and Katherine Mansfield neither the novel nor the short story can ever be quite the same again.” After reading “The Fly” or “Miss Brill”, do you get a sense that Mansfield incorporated Female Modernism into either one of these stories? If so, what affect did this have?

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