Knight In Shining Armor: Feminism In Modern Marriage

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Feminism has been a cornerstone of literature for over a hundred years. Women in the world and in literature prior to late 19th century were portrayed as secondary citizens at best. In the late 19th century, a new movement was formed that took the ideals of the woman’s role in society and marriage and transformed them. Authors from the first and second wave of feminism have now created true portraits of women and their views on marriage. Generally speaking, the first and second waves of feminism are most recognized for their contributions to social and cultural equality. The first wave admittedly focused more on women’s suffrage, or rather, women’s right to vote. Mary Wollstonecraft was the first woman to write about equality of the sexes in her book from 1792: A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. After the Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution in 1920, which gave women the right to vote, the first wave of feminism was over. In the mid-sixties and early-seventies the second wave of feminism was formed. According to Kari Meyers Skredsvig, the core argument of the second wave was for equality, not only in the home but also in the workplace (Skredsvig par. 3). This wave also dealt with deeper issues in literature like sexuality and reproductive rights. In these two periods women around the world expressed their frustration with inequality and sexual frustration. Two of the most prolific writers of first and second wave feminism were Kate Chopin and Margaret Atwood, respectively. Chopin was the true bridge between first wave and second wave feminism. She not only dealt with issues of suffrage but also female sexuality. In her short story entitled “The Story of an Hour”, Chopin addresses issues of grief and repression. Chopin writes: “She [Mallard] wept at once, . . . [until] the storm of grief had spent itself” (104). Her characters first reaction

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