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The Greatest Sacrifice Essay

1444 words - 6 pages

The Greatest Sacrifice

Throughout history, women have been given very few options in their lives. Historical accounts convey a clear perception that women are belittled because the society thinks that women are too precious and weak to do activities that men can. Women have three main options in life, that is to take care of her husband, to take care of her children (which goes hand in hand with the precedent if the woman bears a child), or to delve into the world of science and art while facing the wrath of enduring the snickers and the pointing fingers of everyone around you. In Miles Franklin's novel, My Brilliant Career, she points out that women are required to be a wife and/or a ...view middle of the document...

When Sybylla told her mother that she wanted to pursue music as they were quarrelling on what Sybylla can do, Mrs. Melvyn went fuming stating that music will take many years of training and great expanse before one earns anything at it (71). If a woman delves into the world arts, a large amount of money will be needed and only the very rich families will be able to afford finishing it. Also, since it takes years to train, the chances of getting married are very slim. Mr. Everard Gray told Mrs. Bossier, Sybylla's grandmother, that her granddaughter had a talent in elocution and singing, and her grandmother was obviously enraged as she stated that “an actress – a vile, low, brazen hussy! Use the showing off to a crowd of vile bad men” (107). Mr. Gray gave Sybylla's grandmother a proposition, and that is to marry Sybylla to avoid scandal when she comes with him. Mrs. Bossier, who had already talked of her hatred of actresses, refused to send her granddaughter to train and to give him her granddaughter's hand (110).
Franklin clearly identifies the responsibilities of females and males to achieve a balanced society. Mrs. Melvyn, Sybylla's mother, is a good example that reflects the responsibilities of women. She “yielded up her youth, freedom, strength...she had sacrificed the greatest possession of woman” (89). Born a “full-fledged aristocrat” (48), Mrs. Melvyn had to adapt to married life as any woman are required to. Once she had children, she had to take care of them and instil values and good etiquette (49). Mr. Melvyn, on the other hand, is of a good social standing (48). Though he is not as rich as his wife's family, he is more than capable to supply food and shelter for his family.
Franklin not only points out how men are supposed to supply bread on the table, but are “full of plans and very sanguine concerning the future” (52). Mr. Melvyn decided that it would be best if the family moves to Possum Gully (50). Here, Franklin shows that women have to comply with whatever their husbands are telling them (52) because, obviously, the society has always been a patriarchal one. In addition, Franklin mentions that men are “not going to squat henlike on his place” (52) and are not going to “waste his talents by keeping them rolled up in a small napkin” (50). The decision gravely affected their economic and financial situation (57).
Other works of art like fairytale or romance novels divide the genders into two groups, the active (men) and the stagnant (women). In the novel, though, women try to be stagnant as they are following gender norms, but Mrs. Melvyn took matters into her own hands. Her husband decided to begin dairying, along with his wife and children (58). The heavy work told upon Sybylla's gentle and refined mother (59). Mr. Melvyn's share of the work was to break in the cows, separate the milk, and take the butter into town to the grocer's establishment (59). It is important to note the degree of difference in the share...

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