Inward Lives of 2 19th Century Women

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A 4 page essay that discusses similarities between Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary with his protagonist of Emma Bovary and Kate Chopin's The Awakening with Edna Ponteiller. The writer argues that the reader, with these novels, encounters two female protagonists who each have difficulty reconciling their outward behavior to their inward reality. Western culture at the time of these novels dictated a very restrictive role for women in society, a role that concentrated firmly on domesticity. Both Emma and Edna have an inner romantic concept of what marriage and love are like, which contrasts sharply with the reality of their lives. In both novels, this factor creates tension that provides the thematic impetus for the narrative that unfolds, illuminating each author's perception of what it meant to be a woman in patriarchal nineteenth century society. No additional sources cited.