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The Cult of Domesticity

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 732
  • Category: Women

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The Cult of Domesticity was a guideline that required women to be inferior and submissive compared to men. Many of Emily Dickinson’s poems were written in secret because of the treatment of women in her time period. “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin were written from their position of male dominance and domesticated women. Many of the ideals specifically submissiveness, domesticity and piety present in the Cult of Domesticity, are represented in these stories and poems. “These are the days when the birds come back” and “I heard a fly buzz when I died” by Emily Dickinson display the ideals of submissiveness and piety in women of the time period. When Dickinson writes, “Oh the last Communion in the Haze.” (Dickinson, 6) it represents the religious necessities of piety that were supposed to be in women. Here she wants the children and future generation to believe in Christianity. Piety is also shown when Dickinson adds, “When the king be witnessed in his power” she is referring to the king as god. She is describing his power and people having to worship him. Submissiveness is also show in many other poems.

When she writes,”willed my keepsakes signed away, what portion of me I could make assignable” this shows they were not in control of their life and men were control them to their will. Submissiveness is also shown in “The Story of an Hour” In “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard experienced a myriad of conflicting emotions throughout an hour because of the loss of her husband. When Chopin says,” She wept at once with sudden wild abandonment” and “She sank, pressed down by physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.” both represent her domesticity. She was reliant on her husband for life before. He was her main driving force of her life before his supposed death and was her only reason of living. Until that point she lived only for his purposes and was now her own person. Mrs. Mallard also is now happier that her husband is gone when she says,”She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday had she thought with a shudder that life might be long.”(2, Chopin). When she was living with her husband it is clear that hoping her life would be short, that he had always made her unhappy usually by keeping her submissive.

Its shown from “Free! Body and soul free!” (2, Chopin) that her husband was constantly in control. She would always have to be submissive to him and nobody cared about what she wanted. The same argument could be made for when she says, “There would be no powerful will bending hers” (2, Chopin). It shows that her husband would always take control and she would have no power in the household. Both statements display her submissiveness which also has a heavy presence in “The Yellow Wallpaper” Submissiveness is also represented in “The Yellow Wallpaper”. When Gilman writes “John laughs ate, of course, but one expects that in a marriage.” (1, Gilman) Here it is displayed his dominance over her and his opinion overrides hers. Additionally it also reveals how society finds that normal and no woman’s opinions matter. Submissiveness is also shown when the narrator says “But what is one to do?” (1, Gilman).

As a part of being submissive, she cannot resist and is forced to doe everything he says without question. Domesticity is also shown when she says, “He hate me to write a word.”(3, Gilman. This shows how women were supposed to be viewed as in the house hold. Writing is an intellectual work that a woman could not possibly do. Domesticity requires them to be focused on the house because they are not intelligent enough to write. In all of the stories and poems the ideals of submissiveness, piety, and domesticity are present and express the Cult of domesticity. Emily Dickinson’s poetry expresses submissiveness and piety in women of her time period. In “The Yellow Wallpaper”, submissiveness and domesticity are present as well as in “The Story of an Hour” although both emphasize more heavily on submissiveness. All these stories and po ems represent how women were treated in a largely patriarchal society where the Cult of Domesticity rule over women.

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