Essay on Women’s Literature

Kate Chopin and Bessie Emery Head create powerful characters of women in their works portraying changing social roles of women and their life expectations. Kate Chopin and Bessie Head are feminist writers who appeal to emotions of readers through unique and real life images of women and their liberation. Both writers underline that women characters ‘fail’ at mothering while fighting for freedom and happiness. Thesis Both women-characters ‘fail’ at mothering when broke conventional women roles and go beyond patriarchal ideology of their epochs and cultures.

Help with Essay on Women's Literature
Help with Essay on Women’s Literature

In the “Awakening” Edna Pontellier appears to reject the domestic empire of the mother and the world of women’s culture. Seemingly beyond the bonds of womanhood, she has neither mother nor daughter, and even refuses to go to her sister’s wedding. She is “not a mother women” because she rejects all established traditions of motherhood. Edna’s actual seduction by Arobin takes place in the narrative in which Chopin brilliantly evokes sexuality through images and details. “The excessive physical charm of the Creole had first attracted her, for Edna had a sensuous susceptibility to beauty” (Chopin, 1998). These feelings were not typical for most women of her epoch who did not express sexual desires and affection to men’s beauty. Most important, The Awakening is insistently sexual, explicity involved with the body and with self-awareness through physical awareness. Both works are unique because the authors depict events, experience, time, memories through different frames which are connected with each other. Similar to Edna Pontellier, Mma-Mompati in “the Village Saint” goes beyond traditional roles of women as caregivers. Bessie Head creates a strong character of Mma-Mompati who fights in any circumstances. Her behavior is atypical but she is looking for better days and happiness. Through the attitude of villagers, Bessie Head shows that Mma-Mompati ‘fail’ at mothering. Using the conflict between Mary Pule and Mompati, Bessie Head describes morals of village who see Mma-Mompati as ‘a vicious woman’ only (Head 1977).
The strange reasoning is that society judges the behavior of women and their morals but does not take into account their personal qualities and reputation. Although, Chopin’s account of the Pontellier marriage, for example, shows Edna’s tacit collusion in a sexual bargain that allows her to keep to herself. Although she thinks of her marriage to a paternalistic man twelve years her senior as ‘purely an acci¬dent’, the text makes it clear that Edna has married Leonce primarily to secure a fatherly protector who will not make too many domestic, emotional, or sexual demands on her. In contrast to Edna, Mma-Mompati has been as ideal mother for many years, but ‘fails’ as a woman engaged in adultery relations (Head 1977). Both works show that class and social relations were determined by social values and norms. This domestic, religious and maternal role had a more than familial dimension. Chopin writes: “Mother-women seemed to prevail that summer at Grand Isle” (Chopin 1998). The strange reasoning is that the lady should have a moral responsibility before the society and her family and could not break predetermined norms of social behavior. In the cultures depicted by Chopin and Bessie Head the women had no right to break the conduct of their social norms. The institution of marriage did not give a woman right to be free from social values and norms of morality.

In sum, the women characters ‘fail’ as mothers because they break traditional roles of women as housekeepers and wives. They need independence in order to express their individuality and dreams. On the other hand, both women are ‘inescapably’ mothers because they have families and care about their children. In their societies, many mothers ‘fail’ as women limited by housekeeping and childbearing. They had no right to express female sexuality based on the belief that women did not have the same sexual desires as men had.

Works Cited Page
1. Chopin, K. The Awakening. 1998. Available at: www.onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/ webbin/gutbook/lookup?num=160
2. Head, Bessie. The Village Saint. The collector of treasures, and other Botswana village tales. London : Heinemann Educational, 1977.

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