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Word Count: 1,423
Women in the nineteenth century gained a great deal of status and importance during the last thirty years of the century Many working class women in the last third of the nineteenth century joined the new factories and workshops in an effort to stave their families from poverty A new woman claimed the right to a physically and intellectually active life and refused to conform to the norms that defined nineteenth-century womanhood Coffin 554 As women became more prevalent in the social political and economic spheres of society chauvinistic stereotypes continued to oppress the rising status of women in humanity This truth can be seen in Emile Zolas The Ladies Paradise Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness and Agrippina Korevanovas My Life The Ladies Paradise presents many women who defy social norms and cannot be seduced by temptation Denise Baudu is a perfect example she climbs the ladder of success by being herself and defies the stereotypes against women When Denise found out Octave Mouret was interested in her she did not succumb to his advances and refused a life of luxury at her prides expense 298 Denise skillfully ignores her heart and follows only her head 281 In this way Denise modeled the ideal new woman She did not want a purely physical relationship she wanted love Denise believed that if a man loves you he marries you Zola 274 Mouret gave Denise promotions within the Ladies Paradise but this did not change her mind or her heart By her very gentleness she had won absolute authority for herselfThe reign of Denise was beginning 329-330 Although Denise appreciated the prestige of her new position she never worked with the intention of charming Mouret Baudu was true to self and unfaltering traits very revolutionary for a woman of the late nineteenth century Although Denise exemplifies a strong woman in The Ladies Paradise the majority of female characters in the novel are portrayed
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