Description of themes from several books written by women writers including The Awakening; Their Eyes Were Watching God; The Joy Luck Club; and The Handmaiden's Tale.

Essay by el_kabong999University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2002

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_____Of the reoccurring themes in all of the assigned reading, movies, and books, one would have to notice the obvious struggle of women against the oppression and societal restrictions imposed mostly by a patriarchal society and the consequences of those struggles. These stories take place mostly in past times and reflect what must have been a common struggle for many freethinking women of those eras. Common practices and excepted norms kept the women of these eras from reaching their potential both socially and perhaps emotionally also.

_____In the first book we read, The Awakening, the main character Edna resists against the confines of society. This society has forced her to accept values and roles, which tend to keep her emotionally sterile. Edna marries a man whom she does not love, and because of this her emotions would not fully awaken until later in her life. Edna only gets married because it is what she is expected to do, and so begin her struggles.

_____In the book, various things symbolize resistance and freedom. Edna begins to shed more and more clothing at various points throughout the novel. This symbolizes her fight against the Victorian values and conventions that make her feel disillusioned and despondent. At the house in Cheniere Caminada, Edna takes off many pieces of clothing and is then free to sleep and escape from reality. Also, when she swims, Edna is in the least amount of clothes and feels most relaxed. She also seems to be very interested those around her who tend to not worry so much about clothing. Mademoiselle Reisz's lack of keeping up with the latest fashions symbolizes her struggle with society and the Victorian conventions, which include having to dress a certain way. Edna seems very interested in the young woman Robert talks to...