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Katherine Mansfields Life of Ma Parker Womens Plight Katherine Mansfields Life of Ma Parker presents the plight of Ma Parker as a working-class woman at the turn of the century in terms of her position in the sphere of the family and in the sphere of society Life of Ma Parker is a story of a widowed charwoman Like Miss Brill Ma Parker is a very lonely woman but their equally painful story is told quite differently mainly because Mansfield supplies no background to account why Miss Brills Sunday passes as it does As the title of the story denotes we receive the story of Ma Parkers life which explains her current situation As servant wife and mother shes the generic British working-class female at the turn of the century cowed by drudgery and burdened by loss Her husband a baker died of white lung disease and those children who survived the high rate of infant mortality fell victim to other ills of the late-Victorian underclass emigration prostitution poor health worse luck Lohafer 475 At the present point in the story Ma Parker arrives to work in the house of the literary gentleman after she buried the previous day her loving grandson Lennie who was the only ray of light in her dreary life According to Irigaray all the systems of exchange that organize patriarchal societies and all the modalities of productive work that are recognized values and rewarded in these societies are mens businessthe work force is this always assumed to be masculine and products are objects to be used objects of transaction among men alone 171 Ma Parker has to play the role of an object circulated among masculine employers as she has to support her children and herself Ma begins working as early as the age of sixteen as a kitching-maid 143 Later on when that family was sold up she went as help to a doctors
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