Gender Roles Can Equal Abuse

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When readers in the twenty-first-century come into contact with literature from earlier times in history it is easy for us to put our society’s standards on the characters. In both Susan Glaspell’s “A Jury of Her Peers” and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” the roles that women play in society are brought into question and are given a point-of-view from women in earlier times of American history, around 1917. In my opinion a lot of the things women have been expected to do and put up with were equal to emotional abuse. The emotional abuse is shown through Glaspell’s major character in “A Jury of Her Peers” who is Minnie Wright. She is not a speaking character but we find out about her life through the other characters. Glaspell shows her abuse to a farther extent than the other two female characters. Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters have the same expectations from society as Minnie does. All three are married women of the middle-class branch of society and the story was written in the beginning of the century. During that time it was expected of wives to care for all the home matters including taking care of the children. Minnie’s number one priority though, was to her husband. Anything he needed she was to do and many men expected their wives to be happy they had the privilege. Most of the time the wives had no say as to their lives or their family’s life, whatever the husband said, it was not to be questioned. Mrs. Hale tells the reader about Minnie’s life as a young woman who was attractive, colorful and creative. Mrs. Hale also states that when Minnie was young she was “sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and – fluttery” (Glaspell 165). John Wright changed all of that for Minnie. For twenty years his unfriendly ways alienated her from even her neighbors and made her wither away like a cut rose. The fact was so obvious that even Harry
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