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'How did authors show that women were treated differently in the Nineteenth Century?'

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Introduction

'How did authors show that women were treated differently in the Nineteenth Century?' In the Nineteenth Century, women were treated very differently to the way they are today. Modern day society relies on the basis that there should be equality between men and women in all aspects of life and there have been laws put in place such as the Sex Discrimination Act to help reflect these policies. Authors who lived during the Nineteenth Century wrote about how women were seen and treated in the 19th Century. The stories they wrote gave the impression of society being dominated by males who believed that they were superior to women. This type of society was called a patriarchal society. The story 'Tony Kytes the Arch-Deceiver' by Thomas Hardy is a story in which the issue of sex discrimination arises. It writes about Tony Kytes, a young handsome man, who takes a trip into town and on the way meets two of his sweethearts as well as his fianc�. Two of the women he convinces to hide in his wagon as a favour because he has seen the next sweetheart approaching. As the other women is the last to be seen, she rides up front with Tony in his wagon. In the end, all three women realise that Tony is showing affection to all of them at the same time. In rage, the more independent women storm away after being asked in turn to wed Tony. However, na�ve Milly accepts his offer and they marry soon after. ...read more.

Middle

There is irony here also as the couple are made out to be happily wed at the end even though their love obviously doesn't run that deep because of Milly being third in line. As long as the man was kept happy by a loving wife, it wasn't really that important who it was. Also the author states, "I was not able to go to their wedding, but it was a rare party they had by all account" which is making fun of marriage in those times and giving the idea that it is just done as an excuse for a party; the marriage doesn't really matter to them that much. 'Tony-Kytes' has a male narrator which affects majorly the way the story is told and put across to the reader. Because he is male, the story is written in a light headed way; it is all seen as a bit of a laugh that Tony Kytes has messed around so many women but ends up with one in the end. If a women were to be narrating it, the story would have been written in a very different way. She probably would have been offended by the story and would have expressed more of an independent woman viewpoint as she told it. There would be negativity towards Tony Kytes instead of it being a mere amusing story like the male narrator made it. If the reader knows this fact they can discard the bias of a 'funny' story and make up their own opinions on whether or not they agreed with how Tony Kytes treated those women. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think the author wanted to get this point across and because of the language she used, she also wanted people to realise that Dorothea is symbolic of all women who have sexual needs but they weren't allowed to have such desires in a patriarchal society. The author also described Dorothea as a "fallow field" which is another reference to a sexual innuendo - something that has a double meaning and one of the meanings could be construed as sexual. A fallow field is a field that has already had crops grown in it, -symbolic for Dorothea already been oppressed by society- it has then been given nutrition to revive it, - symbolic for Dorothea fleeing the stresses of patriarchal society and realising that she has needs as a women- and lastly, the field is used again for a new start - Dorothea is now fertile and ready to begin life again and satisfy her needs and do things for herself. Also pathetic fallacy is used as Dorothea's change in mood and mind set is mirrored by the fact that she is experiencing the beauty of nature around her as she is realising that she can be free from society and she can be free as a woman who has her own needs. She becomes one with nature. I believe that these last few paragraphs are the most important in the whole story as they talk about women's freedom and how their sexual feelings feel natural to them. Because of the erotic language used in these paragraphs, it also seems that the whole story is based around women's needs sexually as well as physically. ...read more.

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