Argument on a Theme of Book Term Paper
- Length: 5 pages
- Subject: Family and Marriage
- Type: Term Paper
- Paper: #12403784
Excerpt from Term Paper :
guarantee of stability in the country and in society? Of course they are rights, freedoms and liberties which are common for every democratic society where justice is guaranteed to everyone not looking on his heritage, gender and social status. It was stated in the constitution; it was stated in the declaration of independence and in other documents which are considered to execute nearly the same role for modern society as Ten Commandments told by Moses to Hebrew people. But in reality is it so perfect as it's written and as it seems to be? Or as we want it to be? The answer of course is no. Different kinds of discrimination exist in nowadays society, in one of the most democratic and liberal in free world. It refers to any issue, which distinguishes a person from the rest of the crowd by his qualities that do not have any reference to his personal and professional abilities and traits and that do not influence on the particular case he is judged about. It may be heritage, race, gender or age.
In particular case I would like to touch the gender question. Even though that modern American society had made a long way of social values evolution starting from the first colonists and ending with modern American nation, which sets and dictates most of popular culture attributes to the rest of the world, it still has a lot of people who are slaves. The concept of slavery is quite different from the usual understanding of lack of freedom or physical slavery. This particular sort of slavery is mental. People remain to be the slaves of their prejudices, their stereotypes and their beliefs often not willing to change anything in their system of values. This mostly refers to gender issues, as woman are still perceived as a "weak gender" as some one who has less privileges and rights than men do. It refers to the majority of modern cultures not taking into consideration conservative societies. Even though that now majority of women rights issues have been solved, still the prejudices remain. The nature of the relations of women and men is excellently described in French's book The women's room, which describes the progress and changes in woman's consciousness that occurred in the second half of the twentieth century: a period of women rights activism countrywide.
Today lots of representatives of modern generation would be puzzled by the book if they have never thought about this problem before. Probably they won't understand feminism of the writer, her man-hatred position and shallow description of men characters. For some of these readers there would exist a question what motivated writer to such kind of an attitude? On the hand with egislature, attitude and simply stereotype of modern woman had changed recently, let's refer to the issues that existed in society which paved the way to such changes.
The struggle for the nineteenth amendment of constitution is already a forgotten event from the past. In many respects formal equality and the right to vote didn't give women anything, but only a satisfaction from their struggle. Their position remained nearly the same. College student young lady was a rare case in educational practice of Southern states educational institutions, working lady who was working not in the family business was perceived as deviant behavior. It's just social side of the problem, just a one face of the medal. In private aspect, 19th amendment didn't give anything to a woman. Equality in family relations didn't exist at all, as none could correctly define it. In many cases woman was submitted to her husband and was submitted to his authoritarism.
In The women's room Marilyn French writes the following lines: "My feelings about men are the result of my experience. I have little sympathy for them. Like a Jew just released from Dachau, I watch the handsome young Nazi soldier fall writhing to the ground with a bullet in his stomach and I look briefly and walk on. I don't even need to shrug. I simply don't care. What he was, as a person, I mean, what his shames and yearnings were, simply don't matter."(p.342)
From the very first lines of the novel we understand that there had been much of personal experience that influenced the novel. It was written by a woman who made her mind to state that she is a personality, that she is an individual that she is independent and that her opinion has to be taken into consideration. That's why Merilyn French decided to show the evolution of woman's consciousness through a prism of time, starting from 1940 ies, the age of idealist after-war America, where everything was based on enthusiasm, optimism and understanding and up to 1970 ies.
Nearly none even thought about something as gender gap, fighting for equal position in society and for other liberties, as the situation satisfied nearly everyone, who kept the standards of earlier times. From the first lines of the novel we understand that women were alienated from men in that society:
"The school had been planned for men, and there were places, she had been told, where women were simply not permitted to go." (p.2) This referred not only to schools, such kinds of restrictions in public life participation were observed everywhere. Marilyn French starts narration in 1940 ies when 3 women Mira, Val, Kyla, Clarissa were simple students. Then it goes in their youth years, when they got married and their life is described from different aspects. Mira's personal life is one of the central themes of the novel and her figure is one of the key figures I n the novel.
Her personal life is a vivid example of typical American family environment of the second half of the twentieth century. In the dynamics of social changes, popular culture, human rights activities, family values and personal values about gender relations appeared to be able to stand the shaking caused by the urgency of time. As a result women were left imprisoned, mostly imprisoned by the chains of their own mind. Marriage was a more an event that had a closer relation to tradion set long ago, than to equal and mutual love: "Mira understood-what young woman does not?- that to choose a husband is to choose a life"(p.26)
Family relations were not democratic; there was nothing about friendship, mutual respect not talking about real love. It was all about submission, dependence and dominance. This set of beliefs about unequal position of woman existed in the mind nearly of every man it referred to all woman: to their wives, mothers, daughters and colleagues. Family inequality was seen through he following facts, which even outlined man's dominance both physical and dominance of status:
" ... All men are rapists and that's all they are ... What should a pacifist do if his wife is raped? 'Get between them.' It's not possible for a husband to rape his wife: the word has no legal standing in context because rape is his right." (p.119)
Men's status could be also well described by following lines of M. French:
"It [capitalism] is simple, it's a game, you know? First round, the people who are good at grasping get most of the chips. Second round, they make the rules of the game, and make them so they're sure to keep most of the chips. After that, it's really simple. The rich keep the poor in line and the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
This phrase tells a lot about the position of woman in the family and her rights,. She didn't have any individual rights and any right for privacy as well. The institution of marriage was "holly' but was such only for males. Women were not taken into consideration at all. The attitude o husband towards wife can be described by woman as following: " ... most husbands were rather dull, a woman had to find her own interest ... She was tired of joking about the ineffectuality or absence of the men, who were absent even when they were physically present. That was not funny either ... " (p.113-136)
The plot of the story is based on the evolution of consciousness and set of beliefs of these women, who chose a thorny way of struggling for independence and for their dignity in the society which could not accept it. May be the behavior of these women is their serious exploit and a gesture to the rest of society that do not want to submit to public opinion and public moral concepts. Mira was able to made her mind and to realize that she, was the only one who could change anything at least her life and who could prove at least to herself that she is able to make decisions.
It didn't happen at once, Mira and other s came to it gradually, as it was an individual reaction towards the events that took place in…