'Old maids to radical spinsters'. Discuss the subversive potential of the unmarried woman with reference to one text.

Essay by cheungCollege, Undergraduate April 2005

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During 19th century, women were expected to be proper and polite; on the other hand, to rebel against this expectation was to be the reverse: ugly, rude, vulgar, and impolite. In addition, a woman was usually perceived as the property of her husband when she married. Thus, once she married, all her wealth would belong to her husband. On the contrary, the remaining unmarried woman, labeled as old maids or spinsters were usually under the jurisdiction of their fathers or other male relatives. For example: the characters Josephine and Constantia in the text 'The daughter of the late colonel'. Therefore, in this essay, I am going to discuss how Muriel enables to transform herself through understanding of other models of feminine identities apart from being a married woman with reference to the text "The Crowded Street" by Winifred Holtby.

Women at that particular time were supposed to behave like Rachel Bennet: "[a] pretty, clever, and a lady.

She brought things off", (Holtby, 220) and the most important matter is to get married. "Marriage is - the crown and joy of woman's life - what we were born for - to have a husband and children, and a little home of your own", (Holtby, 223). Unlike Rachel Bennet, Delia smokes, "[she] lit another cigarette with trembling fingers (Holtby, 227) and even dares to talk back to her father, "my dearest Father, do not at your eleventh hour begin to play the heavy parents with me" (Holtby, 227). Moreover, she lived on her own in the city instead of taking care of her family. She worked for a feminist activist organization, The Twentieth Century Reform League and gave public speeches, "I live largely on platforms and in publicity" (Holtby, 236). In addition, she did not even care about her...