The Role Of Women In My Antonia, By Willa Cather

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In Willa Cather’s novel entitled My Antonia, she writes about several female characters that, in essence, challenge the stereotypical women’s role in a male-dominated society during the early 1900s. In Trifles, a play written by Susan Glaspell, she depicts her female characters as crafty and bright and not simply inferior intellectually to their male counterparts. Upon closer examination of these two pieces of work, Cather and Glaspell demonstrate that these female characters defy the existing typecast of women as being less capable than men.
In My Antonia, Cather conveys, rather convincingly, that she did not adhere to society’s view that women should be restricted solely to the domestic domain. Her writing encompasses* the idea that women
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But she also suggests that women play a major role in shaping masculinity. The relationship between Jim and Antonia suggests that romance can be platonic, which allows women to influence masculinity in an “open-ended” fashion (Fletcher 122). Published in 1918, My Antonia debuted at a moment in history when women’s suffrage was in the process of becoming an achievable goal. Yet a large percentage of American men were against it. The Nineteenth Amendment, which gave women the vote, was ratified becau8se a single switched vote in the Tennessee state legislature (Fletcher …show more content…
Through the comments of Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters, who accompany their husbands who are investigating the murder of John Wright, Glaspell reveals the emo5tional and psychological abuse that caused Minnie Wright t5o murder her husband. This purpose is achieved through subtle, in-depth characterization. The women reminisce about Minnie’s girlhood, when she sang in the church choir and the causes for the loneliness of her existence. Later, Mrs. Hale describes Minnie as “kind of like a bird herself – real sweet and pretty, but kind of timid and – fluttery” (768). Unlike the men, the women, who are charged with obtaining belongings requested by Minnie * For example, Mrs. Hale notices that there is a marked change in the quality of the most recent sewing in the quilt that Minnie is piecing together. Mrs. Hale comments, “All the rest of it has been so nice and even. And look at this! It’s all over the place!” (766). Commenting that bad sewing made her “fidgety,” Mrs. Hale pulls out this stitching (766). The ladies subsequently find all of the evidence that, collectively, reveals what happened in the home and, therefore, indicates Minnie’s motivation, which includes the most damning piece of evidence, a dead canary that has been strangled. Mrs. Hale comments, “If there’d been years and years of nothing, then a bird to sing

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