When a Woman Works

When looking at the world of literature’s view of women throughout the years, writers often portray women as broken, weaklings. I was reminded of this while reading Wide Sargasso Sea because our initial main protagonist is soon our targeted villain, potentially because of afflictions due to gender. Antoinette was a girl who was emotionally abused by her mother who was too unstable. This affected her aging as she was often one who “wasn’t good enough”. As the novel progresses, readers see Antoinette’s continued lack of worth, as viewed by others, such as her husband cheating on her with her in the room beside her. The way in which she wasn’t seen as a valuable person and how she wasn’t able to stand up to her husband, portrays the role of women during this time. Since she was weak, Antoinette soon cracked under the pressure of not living to societal standards, hence why she is seen as weak.

The weak role played by Antoinette reminded me of the tale A Doll’s House, because in this story we too see a woman who is only supposed to be a housewife. However, when our protagonist in this tale does fight against the ways of society, she is knocked down for it. Nora secretly saved her husband’s life, and lived with this until the secret was exposed by the outsider forces of males around her. The fact that Nora is one character who we see from this time fight for her rights and as a result this backfired upon her. The writing of the tale showed women what would happen if they went outside the household rules, which Nora did.

These two women are prime examples of what would happen if a woman didn’t do what she was supposed to. Antoinette didn’t live up to her husbands and mother’s standards, so she was seen as a bad woman. Nora tried to be strong person in her household, going against patriarchy rules, making her a bad woman. Yet, now luckily women are saving factors for males in literature, such as Hermione in Harry Potter and Katniss in The Hunger Games.