Patriarchy In Little Women

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate January 2002

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"It has made me worship you more then ever."(Hawthorne366) These are the words women used to speak in America. Not only did they worship men but they could not even do the same things as the men they loved and worshiped. This is because by a patriarchy in America that has existed for years and some may still say exists now. Patriarchy is defined by Webster's New World Dictionary as "social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly: control by men of a disproportionately large share of power." So basically men control the population and women must adhere to there commands. In the movie Little Women, directed by Gillian Armstrong, the patriarchy is in full effect in numerous ways such as what a women does shall not be discussed and anything about a women should be left to her.

Contrary to Little Women, "The Birthmark" written by Nathaniel Hawthorne has a patriarchy, but is displayed in different terms then Little Women. For example in "The Birthmark" the women was totally controlled by the man and always did what he said, she lived by his rules.

Little Women starts off with a family of all girls, a mother, and grandmother, and four daughters. The husband is off at war so it is up to the girls to support themselves in a world made for men. The first lesson Jo, one of the daughters, learns is that women should never speak first when having an interaction with a man. This is just one of the many "rules" women had to follow in order to be thought of as well-mannered. Another thing women were...