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A Comparison of the Awakening by Kate Chopin and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Word Count: 3,645
With few exceptions our male dominated society has traditionally feared repressed and stymied the growth of women As exemplified in history man has always enjoyed a superior position According to Genesis in the Old Testament the fact that man was created first has led to the perception that man should rule However since woman was created from mans rib there is a strong argument that woman was meant to work along side with man as an equal partner As James Weldon Johnsons poem Behold de Rib clearly illustrates if God had intended for woman to be dominated then she would have been created from a bone in the foot but he took de bone out of his side So dat places de woman beside us qtd in Wall 378 Still men have continued to make women submissive to them while usurping their identities in the process self-determination is a mark of adulthood for American males for American females of the nineteenth and part of the twentieth century self-determination was neither expected nor encouraged Leder 104 However not all women were intimidated by the stereotypical expectations imposed by the social norms of their era Defying their traditional roles Kate Chopin and Zora Neale Hurston wrote The Awakening and Their Eyes Were Watching God respectively in each work a woman reaches independence and freedom by overcoming male dominance in her relationships Chopins protagonist Edna and Hurstons feminist Janie discover that through their radical attempt to be freethe struggle for freedom is not linear but dialectic the price of change is doubleness and out of contradiction emerges a new selfa self that is determined dominant and most importantly free qtd in Dyer 116 The first indications of emancipation are evidenced by Edna and Janies first marriages Edna weds Leonce Pontellier a Creole to retaliate against her father and sister In defiance Edna marries not for love but to punish her family for their disapproval Ednas first marriage is
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