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Essay on American Women in the Nineteenth Century

Assignment id 1015520
Discipline Biology
Assignment type Essay
Words 1467
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In contrast to popular belief, ideas on femininity in the eighteenth century were not so much prohibitive as in the Universe, at least not where sex was concerned. Catherine Clinton, a professor of American history, elaborates in her book, The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century, it was even approved for women to have a high libido. Clinton also shows that it wasn't uncommon to see a pregnant woman (147). At the turn of the century, however, those free ideals morphed into strict guidelines. Society started to value a lady by her sexual purity and dependent behavior. Throughout the nineteenth century, the kind of woman who had been appreciated was a 'trophy' spouse, similar to Marian Forrester at A Lost Lady by Willa Cather. By the close of the narrative, Niel Herbert, the protagonist in the book, notices flaws in Marian that finally makes him lose respect for her. Overall, Niel's admiration for Captain Forrester and his disillusionment with Mrs. Forrester is an exceptional portrayal of the double-standards present in the nineteenth century. For the women in the nineteenth century, the toughest standard to be held is perfection. Nobody is ideal, yet in many civilizations, a mistake on a female's behalf can get her banished from her residence or killed, even though she had been an exemplary woman regardless of the mistake. Conversely, when a guy makes a mistake, it is often overlooked if not praised and that he keeps his ethics. This double-standard is eloquently portrayed in A Lost Lady by Niel's ability to forget Marian's benevolence and condemn her. From the start, Mrs. Forrester has an innate kindness that she demonstrates when she takes care Niel after he drops out of the tree (Cather 26-29). She proves that he...

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