The Change in the Female Role During the Victorian Era

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The ideology of feminism was emerging in the 19th century. Roles of women in society were beginning to change, a reflection of Victorian and industrialized society becoming more modern. One of the main carriers to advance the movement was literature. Women and men began writing short stories expressing ideas and viewpoints from the female perspective, something uncommon in the Victorian era. Middle class women, in the Victorian era, were subordinate to their husbands and maintained a special role in the household and in the marriage. George Egerton wrote “A Cross Line” which details the adventure of a sexually liberated woman. In K. Douglas King’s “Lucretia,” Lucretia, a middle class housewife, feels unappreciated by her husband and leaves him for another man. In George Egerton’s and K. Douglas King’s short stories the main female characters are empowered to break free of the social and sexual norms and roles of Victorian era society, by doing this the characters liberate themselves and take control of their own lives. Lucretia, the housewife of husband John Burnett, feels unappreciated and taken for granted while she maintains the house and raises their children. She spends her whole day “rearing...[her children]... and looking after her husband and the house” (King). This is the normal role of the housewife during the late 19th century. John Burnett worked on the construction of the railroads in town under the boss who would later steal his wife. Women in the Victorian era were dependent on their husbands financially and one third of all women in england still led a domestic housewife role (“Victoria’s Past”). Considering the fact that Lucretia did not hold a job shows that they did not hold a lower class social status. By leaving her husband Lucretia detaches any power and control that he had on her and liberates herself of the common role of
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