In the novel Brooklyn and the short story Silence, both of the lead female characters live their lives in silence. Although, they have very strong feelings towards the things they experience, they do not outright express them to anyone. Neither one of them really lets anyone in to know how they are feeling; they hold in their emotions. Eilis from the novel Brooklyn is being sent to America for work by her mother and sister. She is opposed and she wished her sister would take her place. Instead of voicing her feelings to her family she keeps quite and goes along with what they have planned for her. When Lady Gregory from Silence was cheating on her husband and realized she didn’t really like ...view middle of the document...
This was a huge step in the process of changing gender roles. Before women gained the right vote they were seen, legally and socially, as their husband’s spouse. They rarely worked outside the home and their lives were fully centered on caring for their husband and children as well as taking care of their home.” (Worley, 2009)
Although, this paragraph speaks specifically of America, women were treated as less than a man all over the globe. Their job was to take care of the house and kids. They were not to work or receive an equal education to their husbands. When introduced to new people they were introduced as Mrs. And then their husbands name. They did not hold value as an individual human. Something specifically they were not allowed to do was vote, this right wasn’t gained until August of 1920. (History,2013) This right changed a lot in American history. Suddenly, women’s voices and opinions were validated and important. Women were slowly but surely being looked at differently and gaining their own freedom to be their own person.
Eilis grew up in the mid 1900’s in Ireland where women’s rights were still being ventured. Her sister Rose worked because their father had died and they needed a way to have income coming into their home. Although, women did run businesses in Ireland, most of them were home with their families while their husbands worked and brought home the money for the family. Lady Gregory did not have a job outside of attending events with her husband and taking care of her son. This is reflective of their time periods because women did not yet have equal rights to a man.
Eilis and Lady Gregory were forced to keep silent about their true feelings because they were women. In their time women did not have the opportunity or luxury to voice how they felt. When World War I hit women were allowed to get jobs outside of their homes solely because men left to go to war. Once the men returned home from war the women were forced to go back to working in the house. A women’s work was not valued like that of a man and the women didn’t really fight to keep their jobs. It wasn’t until after the World War II that when the men came home from battle women fought to keep their jobs. (Worley,2009) They gained the right to vote over 20 years before the end of the second World War so they had the taste of freedom and they weren’t giving it up.
When Eilis moved to America she went through some changes because she was faced with freedom. Once you see what freedom is like you see that you want to change the way you were living. She had to make choices for herself in America because there was no one else here to make them for her. Eilis really shows that she has grown when she goes back to Ireland and although she seems to want to stay she knows the right thing to do is go back to America to her husband. She makes an adult and mature decision on her own.