Fate And Feminism Essay

482 Words 2 Pages
Fate And Feminism

In both Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw and The Kitchen God's Wife by
Amy Tan, the reader is pushed to understand the nature of feminists in a new way. This purpose is carried out with the use of multiple feminist characters, a drastic change in a characters outlook on their situation, and the concept of making your own destiny. The protagonists in both of these literary works is female, and they are amazingly similar considering Shaw wrote Pygmalion eighty seven years before The Kitchen God's Wife was published in 1991.
Both of these works use several feminist characters to help the reader understand the theme. At the start of Pygmalion, Liza is 'quite a common girl' (35, Shaw) and Higgins treats her as if she is a
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Pearce to 'take her away and clean her' (41, Shaw). Mrs
Pearce often fights on Liza's behalf during the play, which teaches
Liza how to stand up for herself as a lady would. Clara, a girl that
Liza meets later in the play at Mrs. Higgins is also a feminist character. She tells her mother outright that she's too
'old-fashioned' (81, Shaw) and that 'nobody means anything by it' (81,
Shaw) when they are using 'the new small talk' (80, Shaw).
In comparison, The Kitchen God's Wife contains three feminist characters. Winnie, the protagonist; her friend, Helen; and her cousin, Peanut. Winnie is a feminist right from the start of the novel, however she does not know how to express that. She feels that
'she was forgotten' (322, Tan) by everyone around her. Winnie is trapped by her family in a marriage that she is given no choice but to stick around. Helen is a feminist character because of her backgound. She grew up poor, and only married a pilot because he had inadvertantly killed her sister, and felt guilty. Because of this she did not feel the need to constantly please her husband as other Chinese women (like Winnie) do. Helen played a key part in Winnie's self-discovery. Peanut begins her journey in life with the mindset that her only reality is to find a rich husband and have children. Her marriage was a failure, and as a result, she joined an underground communist group and helped other women like herself

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