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Social And Psychological Oppression Of Women

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1851 words Published: 5th May 2017

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The power of relationship between men and women had clearly shown in both of the novel. In the novel “Nervous Conditions”, the author portrays the five women Tambu, Tambu’s mother Ma’Shingayi, Nyasha, Maiguru and Lucia in a powerless way. They need to obey the men all the time. During the school vacation, Tambu and her relatives went back to the hometown. Maiguru as a Babamukuru’s wife who is the headmaster of the mission school, she is expected to cook, clean and prepare everything for the extended family. Although she is highly educated but she is still enthralled to the wants of her husband and the men in the community but because of her culture she forces to keep silent and obedient. She has no choice but to follow. “This business of a womanhood is a heavy burden. When there are sacrifices to be made, you are the one who has to make them” (Tsitsi Dangarembga 16). This is what Tambu’s mother told Tambu. This quote demonstrates that once women marry to a man, she is like a burden to the men. Women are the one who always sacrifices themselves for the family. Women are born to be a burden of men. In “Hamlet” by William Shakespeare, the queen of Denmark, Gertrude is a woman who tends to obey men. She married with Claudius after her husband’s death within a month. Gertrude is a woman who cannot live without a man. Beside, another character, Ophelia also follow the rules of female has the lower status in society. She gone mad when her father, Polonius died. (William Shakespeare)

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Women tend to obey men, this is because they feel inferior towards men and they obey this tradition since their ancestors. They just follow the status quo that men are dominance in society. Besides, in the second novel “Pride and Prejudice”, this novel starts with the sentence “It is truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in a want of a wife” (Jane Austen 1). This quote demonstrates that the man wants a wife then they can get the wife, women does not have the chance to reject them. The man has option as well as freedom to choose any girl that they wants, however women only can get whichever men want them. From here, “Pride and Prejudice” has shown that how pitiful is a women. They do not have the chance to choose the man they want. If so happen they marry to the men they do not like, they need to face the men for the rest of their life. “The color Purple” which is written by Alice Walker, is a novel that about a black women, Celie, who has been sexually abused by the man she believes to her father, robbed of her two children, and married off to man she hates. She believes that men are the ones who dominate in society (Alice Walker). This novel is the evidence of how a woman can obey. Even though Celia has raped by his father but she forces herself to remain silent and obedient towards her father due to the status quo of men in society.

“In my heart, I think a woman has two choices: either she’s a feminist or a masochist.” (Gloria Steinem) In Gloria Steinem’s point of view, woman is a weak party in society. It seems that women do not have any chance to go the higher level of life. Both of the novels are in the community which is follow the process called entailed. In the novel “Nervous Conditions”, after the sudden death of Nhamo (Tambu’s brother) Tambu is selected to take over him. Before that, the family does not allow Tambu to study. “It is the same everywhere. Because you are a girl…what did you expect? Did you really think that you can send yourself to school?” (Tsitsi Dangarrmbga 21). This quote demonstrates that Tambu really want to study and gain knowledge but she is a female, therefore she does not have the chance to study because her family will not pay for the school fees. This quote shows that it is really hard to get a woman to success. In that time, almost all the jobs are for men. In this novel, women had very few choices in their life. They do not have any chance to do whatever they want. They need to please the men.

Not only that, in the second novel “Pride and Prejudice”, “It is from my cousin Mr.Collins, who, when I am dead, may turn you all out of this house as soon as he please” (Jane Austen 62). Mr. Bennet’s property is entailed, meaning that he must passed his property to a man after Mr. Bennet death and cannot be inherited by any five of his daughter, his property need to pass to a male relative on his side of the family who is Mr. Collins. This shows that male have the higher status than a woman. They can inherit the property of their family or even side family. However women do not have any chance to get the property from their family yet once the women marry to men, anything that the women owned will automatically became her husband’s. Besides, in the novel “Little Women” women’s fight between the family duty and personal development. This novel demonstrate that a women has their own thought and wanted to have their own job however they has to follow the tradition that they need to stay at home and complete their duty.

In the poem “An independent woman” by Audrey A Cooper, “She makes her own living, and doesn’t care what anyone thinks” (Audrey A Cooper line 1 &2). Both of the line shows that an independent woman can live themselves, they do not depend on man. In the novel “Nervous Condition” Tambu is independent. She plants and sells vegetables and fruits to earn the money herself. She did this because she wants to study and she wants to save the money to pay for the school fees and she knows that her family will not and not able to pay the school fees for her. From here, Tambu has shown that women are independent as well at that timeline, they are not only depends on men. When she able enters to the school, she was working very hard. Finally, Tambu is offered a scholarship to study at the esteemed mission school. Tambu was studying very hard because she wants to change her life. In the article “Women against War” by Glenice Whitting, “African women holding emaciated babies, Moslem women crying over tiny caskets. I cry with them, but have no idea of the depth of their grief.” (Glenice Whitting, line 8) this has demonstrated that women are weak sometimes but they are strong enough to survive in a war.

“I was not sorry when my brother died.” (Tsitsi Dangarembga 1). This quote shows that Tambu actually does not like her brother. Her brother, Nhamo was an important role in Tambu’s family. He was the role of future provider of his family. He was given the chance to study in mission school. He represents everything in his family. This is just because he is the male and the eldest of the family. Although Tambu is intelligent and hardworking than Nhamo but she seems play an unimportant in her family this is just simply because she is a female. After Nhamo’s sudden death, she finally feels her importance in her family, this is because she has step into her brother’s role therefore she was not sorry when her brother died but joy. Now in society, women are getting more important. “Over the last 30years women, especially from Asian countries, have become an increasingly in this important component of this market” (J Stor, Feminist Review). This has shown that women’s hard work finally got appreciate by the society. According to this article, women are awake and the society started to realize the importance of the women.

In the second novel “Pride and Prejudice” Elizabeth is a very good example of an independent women. “I thank you again and again for the honour you have done me in your proposals, but to accept them is absolutely impossible. My feeling in every respect forbid it” (Jane Austen 105). This quote demonstrates that Elizabeth rejected Mr. Collin’s proposal although Elizabeth’s mother wants her to marry with him because Mr. Collin is going to inherit Mr. Bennet’s property after his death. Elizabeth dares to voice out everything she wants. 19th century society is very controversial at the time but Elizabeth’s behavior is against with the thought of 90’s behavior. She has her own thought. Elizabeth does not want her life control by her mother, she is independent enough to reject and settle thing by herself. In the song “I am a woman” by Helen Reddy, at the beginning of the lyrics “I am woman, hear me roar In numbers too big to ignore” (Helen Reddy, Phase 1) this has demonstrated that a woman used to be ignore by the society because women is a female. They do not trust women and think that woman is a weak and useless party. “it’s wisdom born of pain, Yes, I’ve paid the price, But look how much I gained, If I have to I can face anything” (Helen Reddy, Chorus) however women are strong enough to face all the obstacles. They are now strong and invincible. They do not want to have their life like how they used to be, they do not just want to obey the men. They experienced the pain and they are now even stronger than a man.

In conclusion, in both of the novels “Nervous Conditions” and “Pride and Prejudice” women tend to obey man because they do not want to against their tradition since ancestors. However woman is woke now. They want to be equal with man and there is no a right reason that why men are dominant in society. Men dominant is no longer the norm. Female are getting independent. They start to voice out what their recent and they are having more rights and respects in society. Everyone is equal. The status between men and women should be equal.

Work Cited

Dangarembga, Tsitsi. Nervous Conditions: a Novel. Seattle, WA: Seal, 1989. Print.

Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. New York: Knopf, 1991. Print.

Walker, Alice. The Color Purple: a Novel. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982. Print.

Cooper, Audrey A. “An Independent Woman (poem) by Audrey A. Cooper on AuthorsDen.” AuthorsDen. Web. 03 Nov. 2010. .

Tyson, “Purdue OWL.” Welcome to the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Web. 03 Nov. 2010. .

Alcott, Louisa May, and Scott McKowen. Little Women. New York: Sterling Pub., 2004. Print.

“HELEN REDDY – I AM WOMAN LYRICS.” Lyrics. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. .

“Women Against War.” Suite101.com: Online Magazine and Writers’ Network. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. .

JSTOR. Web. 23 Nov. 2010. .


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