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With reference to at least two pre-twentieth century stories, describe the portrayal of women.

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English Coursework With reference to at least two pre-twentieth century stories, describe the portrayal of women Women are portrayed very differently in these pre-twentieth short stories than they are in real life today. This helps to show how differently women were looked at generally before 1900. Women were seen at as inferior and the second sex in these stories. They are also seen as 'breeding machines' and if they did not have a husband to support them with money, then they would die. This is in stark contrast to today, where they are independent and lead their own lives. Women no longer need a man to survive. In The Half Brothers by Elizabeth Gaskell, women are regarded as needing a husband to stay alive. This is shown in the very first line of the story, 'My mother was twice married.' Even in this small statement, we can see from the fact that she was married twice that she needed a husband. When her first husband died, the mother was left with a huge mountain to climb, 'and the farm on her hands for four years more by the lease, with half the stock on it dead, or sold off one by one to pay the more pressing debts, and with no money to purchase more.' This quote shows that without a husband, her life is a struggle. ...read more.


She totally overlooks the fact why he doing such a thing. The Bacteriologist wife does not know that the anarchist has run off with what he thought was a deadly substance. The wife wants her husband to dress properly incase anyone important sees him in the streets of London but to him, his appearance does not matter at all because he needs to catch the anarchist and retrieve his substance. When the chase goes past the horse drivers, Old Tootles says, 'She's a-following him....Usually the other way about.' I think that this shows how some women were portrayed in those times. Old Tootles could be saying that the husband would normally be chasing the wife around for one reason. This reason would most likely to be that he wants to be loving towards his wife and he would like to chase her around the bedroom. Whilst the chase is passing the horse drivers, they cheer the three people. The story says, 'She did not like it but felt she was doing her duty, and whirled on down Haverstock Hill.' This shows that the wife was dim-witted. I say this because by chasing her husband with the clothes that she thought that he should be wearing, she thought that she was doing something important when really, all of the important happenings were going on in front of her. ...read more.


It seems as if the women are desperate to get married to Tony and will do anything to get it done. In the end, the women all find out about each other hiding in the wagon and are all upset at this. Tony then has to choose who to marry. He asks Hannah first, but her father turns him down. H then asks Unity Sallet but she does not want to be second choice. This leaves Milly, the girl who he was supposed to get married to originally. When asked the question, 'You didn't really mean what you said to them?' Tony replied, 'Not a word of it!' This is obviously a lie as it was quite clear that he was serious about marrying Tony. This again, just helps to portray women as stupid. To summarize this short story, men can control women and make them do what ever they want. Women are portrayed as being little toys so Tony can build up a collection. They are also portrayed as being stupid because they believe every word that Tony Kytes says. In conclusion, the portrayal of women in these three pre twentieth century stories are all negative towards tem. They are portrayed as being stupid, the second sex, inferior and are treated like play toys. I think that the view of women has changed dramatically over the years, but I still think that in some areas of society, women are still classed as the second sex. Arun Nahal 5N ...read more.

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