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Essay by   •  November 20, 2017  •  Article Review  •  517 Words (3 Pages)  •  458 Views

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In this era, it is known that many countries in the world have large extent of democracy and freedom. However, in the nineteenth century, women were viewed as very low class status. Two famous female authors, Harriet Beecher from America and George Sand from France had done some contributions to awake people’s awareness towards “woman’s sphere”.

For similarity, the two authors both lived in spanned turbulent years of social and civil strife in America and France. They both addressed controversial social issues and wanted to see women gain substantial control over their personal lives and property.  Stowe focused on the plight of slaves in America, while Sand focused on the injustices encountered by women and the lower classes in France. Socially, both American and French women in that century did not have much sense of diminishing the idea of gender stereotype. Also, there was obvious social hierarchy with a division of many classes and there were no marriage from different classes at that time. From what we can see in the novels, men were stereotyped as responsible for external affairs such as going to work in order to earn a living, or going to some political and social activities. On the other hand, women were both stereotyped as a responsible housewife who need to take care of the duties in the house, such as cleaning and cooking, and take care of children and elderly. Politically, at that time, women in that century did not have any rights to vote on social or political issues and women were lack of knowledge and sense of critical thinking to comment on those issues.

However, there were some comparisons. In American, Harriet Beecher mentioned that the system was more merciless than France because of slavery system. The higher classes people did not treat the slaves as human but treat with cruelty and inhumanity. They lived in a poor environment with inadequate facilities. In France, Sand mentioned that there were many injustices on women and lower classes over the countries despite the fact that lower classes people could still have a bare normal life.

Stowe and Sand both expressed the problems and opinions on their social situations, aiming at awakening people’s awareness towards gender inequality and the needs of humanity. Stowe’s anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, was so omnipresent and powerful because it personalized and even feminized the issue of slavery. Stowe was opposed to the slavery system and supported for the universal suffrage. It presaged the Civil Wars afterwards and the slavery system was eventually abrogated. The other author Sand debated against the unfairness of women. She believed that women should have the right to work, just like men with a certain extent of financial independence. It makes a great significance on equality and humanity nowadays. If the country has strong power but lack of equality and humanity, people around the world will criticize and condemn it. The transformation has bought great and positive impact on people viewing the issue of gender equality and humanity.



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