This is an essay using three short stories to explain the role of women in social, political, and economic situations and contexts throughout history.

Essay by ladybugashleeHigh School, 11th gradeA, April 2004

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Roles of Women in Literature

Throughout the ages the roles of women are always changing. Some ages and cultures view the role of a woman as the child bearer. Others look to all aspects of home-life and treat women as child bearer, cook, and maid. As the times change a modern picture of women is becoming almost equal to men; we see women in the work force, women with cell phones, cars, and responsibilities greater than simply raising children. In literature, the role of women is often skewed based on the author's gender, age, and political or economic views. Three stories that show the social roles of women in different views are Kate Chopin's Story of an Hour, Alice McDermott's Enough, and Gail Godwin's A Sorrowful Woman. These three stories are an example of how literature depicts the social roles of women in very different ways depending on the author's point of view and time period.

Kate Chopin's Story of an Hour depicts how women feel suppressed and restricted in relationships. Mrs. Mallard, the story's protagonist, is a suppressed woman living alone with her husband. When she is told of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard reacts with an inward joy instead of the anguish and distress her loved ones anticipate. Mrs. Mallard admits that she has no reason to dislike her husband or be happy that he is gone. She remembers he always loved her, and yet she suddenly feels free. Mrs. Mallard is so jubilant about her husband's supposed demise, that when she realizes Mr. Mallard is in fact alive, she drops dead. Story of and Hour is a great depiction of how women felt during the time that Kate Chopin lived. Chopin lived between 1851 and 1904, a very unadvanced time in the world. In...