May 19, 2006

Feminism 101

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:03 pm by mrsmauck

I finished Kate Chopin’s The Awakening last night, and I don’t think I’ll be adding it to my high school reading list. If I were trying to communicate messages about feminism to my kids, I would consider it, along with Mrs. Dalloway and The Bell Jar. The novel was a great read though. I love the ideas of breaking stereotypes and the struggle of the female artist, and the whole metaphor of the sea as freedom and waking as discovering oneself and one’s place in the world. The Edna Pontelliers of the Victorian era didn’t have many outlets for creativity or passion or sources of professional satisfaction. I don’t know which is better: having so little to do that you do nothing but dream and meditate and fantasize, or having so much to do that you hardly have time to do those things (like me). Edna’s servants performed all the tasks that keep me so busy. Had the heroine had her children to care for, a house to clean, a family to cook for, and her painting to do, perhaps she would have been happier. Instead, her servants performed all but the last activity for her. Except for that darn husband–just not the right match, I’m afraid. He could never satisfy her imagination and her free spirit.

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1 Comment »

  1. NYC Educator said,

    I couldn’t agree more. I remember feeling much the same after seeing The Hours. It was very tough for me to empathize with the existential trauman of the Virginia Woolf character while her servants were cooking and cleaning for her.

    It’s tough to view that from a contemporary vantage point and not feel more for those poor women working like slaves.


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