Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7

Consider how the portrayal of the female characters in "Hobson's Choice" relates to the social, historical and cultural context of the play.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

Consider how the Portrayal of the Female Characters in "Hobson's Choice" Relates to the Social, Historical and Cultural Context of the Play In this assignment I am going to discuss the portrayal of the female characters in "Hobson's Choice". I will explore the role of women in society, both at the time the play was set (between 1870 and 1880) and the time it was written (1916). I will then go on to consider how far Harold Brighouse's characters fit in with the social, historical and cultural context of the play. The play was set in 1870. At this time, in Britain, men and women were treated very differently. Women had no rights. They were considered by men just to be baby makers and home planners. There were three main types of woman in 1870's Britain. These were: high-class women, middle class and lower/working class women. With the different classes of woman came different lifestyles. A woman of the upper class did not work. Instead, she was a homemaker. She would not do any of the manual work, but would plan who did which jobs on which days. A high-class lady would have had a lot of leisure time. This time would not be used to pursue sports, but to practice something cultural such as playing a musical instrument, painting, hosting parties etc. A high-class woman would have servants for almost, if not, all housework. This included raising the children, of which she would have one or two. They would be raised and taught by a servant called a governess. A high-class woman would have the chance at a good education. They would probably have been able to read, write and maybe do simple maths. The core of an upper class girl's education would have been learning the etiquette of the upper classes. This would be done at a finishing school. A woman of the middle class would probably work in a shop or office. Her job would not entail much manual work.

Middle

She moves back and starts dusting furiously.) Maggie's relationship with Willie starts off as a purely business relationship. Their marriage was not one of love but a business partnership. In the beginning, Maggie treats Willie a lot like a child. He is extremely dependant on her and she does not leave him to make his own decisions. She even writes his wedding speech for him. Furthermore, she engineers situations to make it seem, outwardly, like a traditional marriage, where the male is dominant: Maggie (rising and going towards the door): Then I'll leave you with my husband to talk it over. As the play goes on, Maggie and Willie's relationship grows stronger and more loving. By the end of the play, the relationship has developed into a loving one. Maggie is friendly with Mrs. Hepworth. When she comes into Hobson's she isn't pushy, as she is with Albert Prosser, but polite: Maggie: Can I take your order for another pair of boots, Mrs. Hepworth? Mrs. Hepworth: Not yet, young woman. But I shall send my daughters here. And, mind you, that man's to make the boots. Maggie: certainly, Mrs. Hepworth. This is because Mrs. Hepworth has a higher social status than Maggie. When Maggie meets Ada Figgins, she is very rude to her. This is not just because she is Willie's Fiancée, but also because she is of lower class than Maggie herself. If Ada had been middle class Maggie would not have been quite so rude and if Ada were high class and the same situation arose, Maggie would not come out on top, due to her inferior class. Maggie's marriage to Willie is not at all extravagant. Everything is kept simple and cheap. She has a brass ring, normal clothes are worn, only her sisters and their husbands-to-be are invited and the "reception" consists of a few sandwiches, tea, and cake. This shows Maggie's non-conformist attitude, as it is not at all a traditional style wedding.

Conclusion

Hepworth. She was born into a lower class family, lives as a working class woman, and will probably die as a working class woman. She lives with her mum, who controls her life almost completely. Her mother even had a hand in setting her up with Willie. Ada: Wait while I get you to home, my lad. I'll set my mother on to you. Maggie: Oh, so it's her mother that made this match? Willie: She had above a bit to do with it. Ada has no prospects for the future. She has nothing to aim for and says that Willie should sort her life out when he marries her. Ada shows fear of the upper classes when she comes up against Maggie. Because Maggie is of a higher class that Ada herself, she backs down from her. This also shows that she is timid. In conclusion, Harold Brighouse wanted to show the difference in class between women in 1880 and how they have changed from then to 1916. He accomplishes this very well, by portraying a stereotype of each class through characters in "Hobson's Choice". He then has a non-conformist, who goes against the ideas of the time, and, through her, shows how the women have changed. Maggie is the 1880's non-conformist. She is more like a woman from 1916. This is shown in the way she pioneers and also makes use of things other people look on as rubbish. Alice and Vickey are stereotypes of the 1880's middle class woman. This is shown in their attitude towards life, such as their belief that the husband should be the sole provider in a family or their dislike to work. Mrs. Hepworth is the stereotypical 1880's high-class woman. This is shown through her dress sense, her attitude towards Mr. Hobson, and her wealth. Ada Figgins represents the 1880's lower/working class. This is shown by the facts that she does not have any money, lives in a small, one or two room house with her family, has rags for clothes, and fears the upper classes. Ashley Doherty

The above preview is unformatted text

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • Over 150,000 essays available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Over 180,000 student essays
  • Every subject and level covered
  • Thousands of essays marked by teachers

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Chekhov's portrayal of the servant class suggests his critique of a social system that ...

    To the upper class, Dooniasha is unimportant and insignificant, qualities which are evident in the way she is disregarded. Like Yasha, she tries to imitate the actions and behaviour of the upper class in the hope to blend in, showing her insecurity.

  2. The Last of the Mohicans, Cooper presents a varied picture of the feminine landscape. ...

    They have resigned themselves to face their death and to not protest it by trying to resist it. However, Cora has different desires, "'Why die at all!' said Cora, advancing...'the path is open on every side; fly, then, to the woods, and call on God for succour!

  1. Discuss the Portrayal of Women Characters of The Withered Arm and The Pangs of ...

    I think that the story is a warning to women, saying that they should not involve themselves with things that they cannot control i.e they should have left men as a higher class. As in the story when the seventh mermaid is on over by the prince she only becomes disappointed and upset.

  2. Caste system in HinduismThe historical background It is difficult to trace out when ...

    The Sakas, Hunas, Mongols and even the Christians led by Saint Thomas, Jews and Parsis have all found refuge in India and made it their homeland. All these people merge in the main stream of Hindu life and culture. Hindus always preferred to adopt a very liberal and safe course of assimilation and accommodation.

  1. Do you get it? If not youll want to - Salvador ...

    a house, and support their families, but money can also lead to more acceptance and openness, which is prevalent among the new class. Gay people are becoming more accepted socially in America, and all over the world. Being that the more gay people in an area is significant to the

  2. Racism in African society and its effect on the character of Hally in "MASTER ...

    That is why he made the kite. So Hally would have something to look up to and be proud of, instead of ashamed. When they were flying the kite together, Sam tied it to a bench and said he couldn't stay. Hally was too young to realize it at the time, but that was a white-only bench.

  1. By taking one or two characters from either novel, consider the ways in which ...

    Independence is not an option for her; class and money trap her. However, her inner self is far from lost. It is simply reflected more in her thoughts than her behaviour. For instance, the note from Richard inspires her to think of Bourton.

  2. Sociology - Womens and housework

    Question 5 helps me to answer my second aim because this question is asking about how many hours the husband and wife send on domestic housework each day. Question 6 helps me to answer my second aim because this question is asking about if the children helps their parents doing the house work.

  • Over 180,000 essays
    written by students
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to write
    your own great essays

Marked by a teacher

This essay has been marked by one of our great teachers. You can read the full teachers notes when you download the essay.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review on the essay page.

Peer reviewed

This essay has been reviewed by one of our specialist student essay reviewing squad. Read the full review under the essay preview on this page.