Since time in memorial, the society has its pre-determined ways that differentiates the male and the female. Women are supposed to be more family oriented, beautiful and most of all obedient to their husbands. The two stories analyses the representation of women and their role in the family, marriage and sexuality. How do these women in the two stories behave? Well, the paper conducts a comparison and sets to find out about the women characters in the stories.
Representation of Women
For centuries, different authors have different description of women with most of the authors describing women in a similar way. Majority describes women in relation to their beauty, the size of their bodies, their overwhelming emotions and their roles and place in the family and the larger society. The stories are symbolic and their titles speak for the stories. For instance, “The awakening” by Kate Chopin is a story in the 18th century at a time where the society predetermined place of a woman is the house. “The awakening” clearly depicts the changes that are taking place in the world of the woman that is different of the societies view. Edna, the main character, takes charge of her sexuality and goes ahead to date other men when her husband is on a trip .It is no doubt that, the symbolic story of “The awakening” by Kate Chopin in the 18th century brought with it a lot of controversy for describing women in regard to their sexuality. The main character Edna is seen to be flirtatious and ends up miserably (Chopin 4).
On the other hand the story of “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald is also symbolic, the main character, Judy Jones is described as a woman who has great command of her sexuality by the way she dates numerous men. Her boyfriend Dexter is devastated by her behavior and at the end of the story; he smiled when he had the way Judy Jones was mistreated by the man she eventually married. The story tells of Judy Jones who used to turn men’s heads whenever she went because of her great beauty. During her youth, Judy Jones dates several men and is not consistent with one to the extent that when she is asked for her hand in marriage by Dexter, she does not say anything and simply keeps quiet. At the end of the story, Dexter describes his affair with Judy Jones as a dream that is gone and can never come back to him (Fitzgerald 6).
In a way, the two stories are similar at the end, Edna in the story of “The awakening” by Kate Chopin and Judy Jones in the story of “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald ends up being unhappy. Edna committed suicide when she found a note left by Robert telling her that he will never come back. Judy is not saved either, after she found out that Dexter was engaged to Irene Scheerer, she asked him to marry her. Devastation set in when Dexter told her blatantly that things between them could not go back to what they used to be and Judy ends up with a man who mistreats her. She lost the love of a man who cared for her because of her beauty that allowed her to have any ma she wanted (Chopin 7).
Women are also represented in the two stories through the way society expectations. For instance, in the story “The awakening” by Kate Chopin, Adele Ratignolle is given the role of an ideal of femininity and a self-sacrificing mother who cautions Edna on her role as a woman. Adele, tells Edna that her children should come first above all other things. Edna does not heed her call and seeks her own happiness through engaging with different men. Leonce, Edna’s husband thinks that Edna is sick for abandoning her traditional roles and takes his two children to live with his mother and they leave Edna alone. Through the story, the role of the woman is cleared outlined in the traditional setting. She is supposed to give up pursuit of her own happiness and place her family above everything else which Edna does not sacrifice (Chopin 16).
In the story “Winter Dreams” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the beautiful woman Judy does not want to get married. She ignores her boyfriend’s request of getting married and continues to fool around. The frustrated Dexter decides to move on and goes to the extent of courting Irene Scheerer. Dexter describes Irene as the curtain spread behind him and a voice calling the children. In a way, Irene is viewed as the wife materials but not the girl to give Dexter pleasure like Judy did. Dexter sacrifices his fantasies for Judy for a woman who has the qualities of a wife just like the way society expects. Dexter and Irene never get to be married as Judy returns and destroy their engagement (Fitzgerald 5).
The men in the stories are no different than the women. They have depicted the tendency of getting involved with married women even though they know they are married. In “The awakening”, Robert Lebrun develops a relationship with Edna who he knows that she is a married woman. When Robert leaves town, Alcee Arobin, moves in to take the place of Robert even though he was aware of Edna’s relationship with Robert and that Edna was a married woman (Fitzgerald 8).
When it comes to the story of “Winter Dreams”, Dexter is very aware of Judy unfaithfulness to him by the ways she gets visitors in her house. Judy always managed to convince Dexter that there was nothing serious and that the men were simply visiting. In both stories, the men seem to use the quality that they have money to woo their women. The men thought that money gave them an edge over the others who did not. This is clearly demonstrated by Dexter who thought that he was better than the other men that Judy dates because he was not poor. Robert on the other hand may have used his influence as the son of the proprietor of the Grand Isle to woo Edna (Fitzgerald 7).
What is surprising enough is the way that Judy managed to convince Dexter that she was not unfaithful, just the same way Edna cheated on her husband who decided to let her be who she was. Traditionally, men were viewed as the ultimate authority in the family. It was despicable for a woman to cheat on her husband for the fear of being disciplined. But this is not the case in the two stories. Therefore we can conclude that the society perception of men and women has been changing over time. Women are becoming more and more daring and men without a choice are accepting them the way they are (Fitzgerald 9).
Chopin Kate. “The Awakening”: New York: Bantam Classic: 1981. pp. 3 – 16.
Fitzgerald Scott:” Winter Dreams”: New York: Carroll & Graf publishers: 2004: pp. 4 – 9.