Feminist Literary Criticism Of The 1960 's ' Fifth Business Took Place Before The First Wave Feminist Movement

2194 Words May 8th, 2016 9 Pages
The term “feminism” refers to the ideologies, political and social movements that exist to achieve equal rights between women and men politically, socially, and economically. Feminist literary criticism began in the 1960’s during the second wave feminist movement that focused on voting rights, property rights, domestic violence, etc. Robertson Davies’s Fifth Business took place before the first wave feminist movement and is set from androcentric view which means a masculine point of view dominates culture and society. The book provides a very accurate representation of the exploitation and oppression of women in an early 1900’s patriarchal society. In the novel, characters such as Mary Dempster and Leola are seen possessing stereotypical characteristics such as being morally sound, weak, and in need of a man sexually and emotionally. Additionally, Mary Dempster is expected to follow female domesticities and gender roles and is shamed if she does not. Not only are women oppressed in the household, they are also oppressed in relationships. For instance, Leola and Diana are oppressed and expected to live up to expectations of Dunstan and Percy. Similar to today, double standards are present in this novel, particularly regarding sex. Many of these examples still occur today but not to the extreme as they did earlier in time.

In Fifth Business, women are portrayed as possessing stereotypical qualities of a female, such as weak, being emotional, and often, dependent on a…

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