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The Role of Women - the Chrysalids

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Autor:   •  April 9, 2012  •  Essay  •  601 Words (3 Pages)  •  3,349 Views

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The Role of Women

In the novel The Chrysalids, male is the dominant gender. Women, even though they play a major role in the lives of all the characters, are considered not as important as men. Under certain circumstances men can disown their wives and send them "away." When the mind-readers in the story see an independent woman they are surprised, almost confused by the way she appears. When a man suspects something is going on when the mind-readers show up to Petra`s rescue, only the females are asked for proper tags and proof of normalcy. Women were practically owned by their husbands and treated like property.

Women aren't treated as equals to men. A woman is expected to "give children" to her husband. If the children they give birth to are not exactly what the Government deemed the image of God they are disposed of. After a woman goes through pregnancy and gives birth to children that are not perfect three times, their husband can turn out them out and find a wife who will give them better children. Proof of this is when Aunt Harriet said, "`This is the third time. They'll take my baby away again like they took the others. I can't stand that - not again. Henry will turn me out I think. He'll find another wife who can give him proper children.`" (Wyndham 71) Women are treated more like a tool for a man to carry on the family name than someone you are in love with and like to be with.

Close to the ending of the book, the woman from Zealand who Petra had been `speaking` with came to the mind-reader's rescue. She appeared to be very independent, strong-willed, and powerful; words not usually used to describe women in Waknuk. A description of her from the book is, "...astonishing in a woman, (it was her short hair)... She was sure of herself, with a serenity which made Rosalind's self reliance seem almost bravado." (Wyndham 192) The men have dominated for so long that the women don't even realize that a female does have the power to make their own choices. The people were primitive in a way because they went back to a time before suffrage.

Women aren't nearly as trusted as men in this book. All of the characters with normalcy certificates are expected to carry around an up-to-date punch tag. When Petra used her thought-shape skills to send a distress signal to all of the other mind-readers they were suspiciously drawn to her exact location. A stranger out of the woods discovered the kids and wasn't sure if they were fringes people or not. "He demanded to see Rosalind's and Petra`s tags." (Wyndham 108) He didn't demand to see Michael or David's tags. The women are considered to need to be checked up on more carefully and often. The ladies don't have the kind of freedom and responsibilities that men get.


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