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In this essay, we will try to depict the position of women in the 19th century through the short stories we have studied. The Unexpected by Kate Chopin, News of the Engagement by Arnold Bennett, The Half Brothers by Elizabeth Gaskell and Tony Kytes, the A

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Anna Maarova 2e5 Nineteenth century short stories In this essay, we will try to depict the position of women in the 19th century through the short stories we have studied. We will be comparing the different views and roles of women in The Unexpected by Kate Chopin, News of the Engagement by Arnold Bennett, The Half Brothers by Elizabeth Gaskell and Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver by Thomas Hardy. In those days, Victorian women had to get married in order to get taken care of by their husbands. They didn't go to school, therefore had no education and could not get a job. If they did not get married and their family was not rich, they would most probably end up in squalor or prostitution These four short stories could be divided into two main themes. In The Unexpected and in the News of Engagement, women want changes and the writers are trying to show that a woman can have a more important role in a society than that of a spouse and a mother. Whereas in the stories by Gaskell and Hardy, the authors portray typical feminin existence, without a life of their own, devoted to their family and entirely dependant on their husbands or fathers. Kate Chopin and Arnold Bennett were both great admirers of Guy de Maupassant and we can perceive that strongly in their writing. ...read more.


Therefore, he is more than astonished when he finds out the reason for his mothers strange behavior was her own engagement to Mr Nixon, an old friend of the family's. Philip's behavior is rather egocentric and would be condemned in our society. However, in the 19th century, it would be normal for a woman to have only two roles: that of a spouse and later on, that of a mother. Sarah wasn't expected to have a life of her own, and even if her widowhood gave her some independence, her son amongst other people never thought she could remarry and live a life outside her house. Philip realizes his wrong perception of women and, through him, Arnold Bennett points out the ability of change of view on motherhood. Thomas Hardy and Elizabeth Gaskell write each in their own way but there is one theme which links them. They depict women's traditional position in society as that of dependant, financially and morally, forced to marry or help their family in the house and unable to make their own decisions. Tony Kytes, the Arch-Deceiver is a humoristic story by Thomas Hardy, told in a Wessex dialect by a carrier, which adds to the witty tone of the narrative. Tony Kytes is an attractive man who is "quite the women's favourite". He is engaged to Milly Richards, "a nice, small, tender, little thing". ...read more.


However, she could not continue living the way she did as she did not have any means to support herself and her son. In addition, "William Preston...had promised to take good charge of her boy, and to let him want for nothing". "As William Preston's wife she would never need to do anything" and "there would be a decent, steady man to see after [her and Gregory]". She acted as most women in her time were forced to act. She was a very dutiful wife afterwards but her husband sensed she did not love him. He reproached her not being "in the same mind that he was" when she defended Gregory. At this, she took to her bed too early and gave birth to a son. However, she died a few days later. William never came over his grudge against Gregory and prefers his real son. At the end, Gregory dies saving his half-brother, an act at which his father realizes all his sins against his stepson. Gaskell deals wih the same theme as Thomas Hardy, however she is far more sensible and serious. She shows what terrible consequences can a marriage have when the woman goes into it only for financial security for her or her children. She is convinced that love and marriage should never be separated and the only reason they were, is the wrong position of women in her society. ...read more.

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