This paper discusses three literature pieces, Desirees Baby, A Jury of her Peers, and The Legacy, to show how the women in these stories were treated similarly under a Patriarchal Society.
Desiree had enjoyed a successful marriage with Armand the two are happy with their marriage but this came to an end when Armand realizes that their child is not white. Because of this, he believes that the Black Traits came from Desiree. This is because Desiree had obscure origins. Though this deals with miscegenation, in some ways it does handle with the treatment of women. This is because Desiree had been placed in a situation of immense defeat when Armand had chosen to isolate himself from Desiree and the baby. However, although Desiree had not avenged herself against Armand and societys treatment of her, reality did. This came in the form of several letters which reveal that Armand is the one of Black Descent.
In Jury of her Peers Minnie Foster is abused by her late husband who had been extremely cheap in terms of spending for his own wife. An example would be John Wrights determination not to get a telephone , new kitchen tools , and new clothes (her older one being described as ragged out ). The tools and clothes were terrible for Minnie Foster as she had once worn clothes of higher quality . The telephone isolates Minnie Foster from the rest of the world. This feeling gives Minnie Foster a caged sensation. This caged feeling is symbolized by Minnie Fosters canary. Minnie Foster had been lonely and bought a canary in response. The canary is the authors way of showing how Foster felt, being caged and isolated. In support of this, Minnie Foster used to sing in choir (canaries sing). But when she married Wright, this stopped her from continuing singing. Moreover, Minnie may have seen the canary as herself. Which is why when the canary was found killed (in the same way that Wright had been) Minnie Foster sees herself being killed by her husband. This would reason with Minnie into killing John. Another act of symbolism used by the author was the quilt Minnie Foster was working on. The quilt had shown Minnie Fosters policy with John Wright. Note the quilt had begun quilted. But as it went on, it grew to be knotted. This reflects Fosters frustration. Minnie Fosters reaction is out of the other stories is the most aggressive and direct act. But Minnie Fosters experiences in many ways can be considered the worst as she had went through the longest and hardest of treatments. Minnie Fosters later handling of the discovery of her husbands death is an even bigger testament as to how far she had been treated. Although Foster had stated she did not kill her husband, her lack of attempt to escape or avoid any consequences shows that the situation with her husband had gone so bad, that the legal consequences are preferable.
In The Legacy, Angela is the now-deceased wife of Politician Gilbert Clandon. As Gilberts career went on he spent less and less time with Angela. Gilbert did not know about Angelas unhappiness however, as seen in Gilberts statement;
full of the little trifles [her journal] the insignificant happy daily trifles that had made up her life
Because of statements like this, her husbands negligence, and the pressure society exerts on her, Angela began to form an affair with B. Miller. This is her Rebellion. Angela would continue to rebel, until B.M. declared that he would be moving to Egypt. Angela, realizing that divorce is not an option for her politically ambitious husband, decided to stay. This increased societys pressure on her. Then, B.M. committed suicide. This made a more lasting impact on Angela. This became evident when, in an act of vengeance, killed herself. Its important to note that although suicide can be at first interpreted as submission, or defeat, Angela had done more than just commit suicide. She begun with a small indication of dislike, leaving nothing for her husband. Then, she proceeded to give him her journals, which detailed her affair. This is her final retaliation.
In conclusion, the mistreatment of women in these literary pieces bore extreme similarities, despite varying reactions, in terms of submission and resistance.