Traditional Woman And The "New Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 5 Subject: Sports - Women Type: Essay Paper: #85828715 Related Topics: Theodore Dreiser, White Heron, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yellow Wallpaper
Excerpt from Essay :

1080). Editha wants to turn George into someone just like herself, who shares her same passion, beliefs, and patriotism -- someone who wouldn't hesitate to go off to war. As Bellamy (1979) states, Editha's commitment to marry him is "contingent upon his enlistment" (p. 283). Unless George becomes like her, she intends to cut of her engagement to him, exhibiting power over the relationship and expressing and asserting her own ideals. Once George commits and enlists, he becomes someone Editha can idolize: "I've been thinking, and worshipping you….I've followed you every step from your old theories and opinions'" (p. 1085). In her letters she includes what "she imagined he could have wished, glorifying and supporting him" (p. 1086). What she imagines are the things she would want to hear about herself. George has become someone she would like to be.

After George's death in battle, his mother tells Editha directly that he died living out Editha's desires: "I suppose you would have been glad to die, such a brave person as you! I don't believe he was glad to die. He was always a timid boy, that way" (p. 1087). Although the gender roles of the time are reversed in Editha and George's relationship, there's an irony here. Editha influences George to go to war through her feminine wiles. Editha realizes that something besides her "reasoning" is working on George when she decides to turn him into "her hero": "her nature pulling upon his nature, her womanhood upon his manhood, without her knowing the means she was using to the end she was willing" (p. 1080). She may not consciously understand how she is using her femininity to manipulate George, but this type of


Without political or economic power, women use their charming personalities and sexuality to achieve their goals. She intuitively falls into this role in some ways. As assertive and "masculine" as she can be, the way she gets what she wants is in acting out a traditional role.

The main characters of Edith Wharton's "Roman Fever," Grace Ansley and Alida Slade would have been around Editha's age at the turn of the century. Both Mrs. Ansley's and Mrs. Slade's husbands have died. Mrs. Slade, the protagonist, thinks about her station in life now that her husband has died: "It was a big drop from being the wife of Delphin Slade to being his widow" (p. 1373). Her life has been defined by his. Now that her husband is no longer alive, Mrs. Slade's life is not as exciting as it once was. She no longer entertains his colleagues. She cannot be the center of attention as his head-turning wife (p. 1373). Mrs. Slade does not seem to think upon Delphin Slade with love or affection. She seems more in love with the life she was able to live being married to a successful lawyer.

Like Editha, though, Mrs. Slade sees herself as assertive. Throughout her marriage, she remembers that she acted "as his equal in social gifts, as contributing her full share to the making of the exceptional couple they were" (p.1373). That Mrs. Slade takes pride in seeing herself this way suggests this may have been an unusual characteristic in a wife of her social status. Her role in the marriage, though, is still of the wife

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