4th writing assignment - Megan Lawless Com L 114 The Idea...

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Megan Lawless Com L 114 11/19/07 The Idea of Expectations in Lispector’s “The Imitation of the Rose” Clarice Lispector’s “The Imitation of the Rose” tells a story about a woman named Laura. She is married to a man named Armando, and the two live alone without children. The story begins shortly after Laura’s “return home” after a much alluded to but non-specified health problem. She struggles to stay well and do exactly what her doctor told her to do. Feminists such as Olympe De Gouges, who strove for women’s rights around the time of the French Revolution, suggest that men constantly limit the rights of women and are therefore responsible for their unhappiness. To Lispector’s protagonist Laura, however, such things seem irrelevant. In this story, expectations are a recurring theme: Laura’s expectations of herself and those imposed on her by others. The true source of her distress, however, is not the expectations of her husband, friend, or doctor, but those she has of herself. She does not care about things like political rights or being oppressed by her husband- only fulfilling the duties she has created for herself as a wife. Since women in most civilized countries now have the same rights as men under the law, they sometimes lose sight of what it means to be a woman and what that designation entails. In De Gouges time, women were defined by their lack of power with respect to men, but that is no longer the case. In Laura’s quest for purpose in her life, she becomes obsessed with the trivial roles that she feels a woman should fulfill and eventually is consumed by the realization that she is imperfect. She, like many other women, does not know exactly what she wants, but somehow feels as though she fails in some respect. Laura strives to do everything with perfection and attention to details to compensate for her own imperfections. Her goal in life is to be a good wife, but she has a distorted view of what that means. She speaks about a sorrow for “the lack of children which she never had” (54),
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although it is certainly not her fault that she cannot bear children. She also thinks it is important
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  • Spring '08
  • ROMERO-RIVERA,MARCE
  • Laura

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