WRTG 3020 Essay 2

WRTG 3020 Essay 2 - William Amrhein Diane DeBella WRTG 3020...

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William Amrhein Diane DeBella WRTG 3020 16 March 2008 The Illusion of Strength in Their Eyes Were Watching God There is a limited array of fashions in which southern women are depicted in literature. More often than not, southern belles are passive observers, who hardly ever speak their minds because they know their opinions carry little weight. A southern woman’s dissatisfaction with a situation is not important enough to sway a man’s position, particularly in the family. In Faulkner’s stories and Their Eyes Were Watching God , a woman’s stance on a situation is shown to be ineffectual. Janie’s misfortunes are only reversed through the deaths of authoritative members in her life, distinguishing her from Faulkner’s females who remain trapped. This gives the illusion that Faulkner’s women are weaker characters than Janie because they do not ever get the chance to disband from their oppressive southern marriages and seek true love. Janie’s ability to do so, however, is only brought about by supernatural events allowing her to move on. However, when Faulkner’s characters have this chance they are unable to capitalize, because they lack the physical beauty allowing them to attract another male. Due to this, what is a fortunate event in Janie’s life becomes extreme misfortune in the lives of Minny and Emily Grierson, as they do not even have a dutiful marriage to fulfill their desires. If lacking the typical southern dutiful marriage, even a loveless one, and the ability to draw male interest, a southern woman struggles to find a purpose in her life. In Faulkner’s “Two Soldiers,” Pete’s mother represents the submissive and ineffectual southern belle in her monologue regarding her son’s planned enlistment in the army, saying,
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“Them Japanese could take it and keep it, so long as they left me and my family and my children alone…[but] if Pete’s got to go to this one, he’s got to go to it” (84). Although Pete’s mother stoutly protests the importance of her son’s input in America’s war, she immediately understands that her opinion counts for nothing. Dictating behavior based on these rules is common in Hurston’s novel and Faulkner’s stories as it extends to spousal relationships, as the woman’s ability to make choices about her own life is all but gone in the traditional South. Unable to make decisions based on true love, these women often become passive about their situation like Pete’s mother, accepting their position as an ineffectual member of society. The strength perceived in Janie is due to the reader’s interpretation that she does not
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course WRTG 3020 taught by Professor Lyons,t during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.

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WRTG 3020 Essay 2 - William Amrhein Diane DeBella WRTG 3020...

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