Women and relationships: oppression in society and role

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Equality is one sensitive issue that spurns across all aspects of the living society. Such is to say that there is a kind of inequality on the political, economic and more so the social front of life. Men and women despite living in the same world and sharing the same resources have a distinct depiction of how they appear in the society. Men are free beings in a world where whatever they do almost certainly sees the light of day while women on the other hand have a barrage of expectations that they have to fulfill in order to avoid criticism. All this means that everyone has an identity that defines them or their role in the society. This essay is set to address a case of misplaced identity in two stories; “Desiree’s Baby” written by Kate Chopin and “A Jury of her Peers” written by Susan Glaspell. The essay is set to explore with examples how the two writers address this theme in their two respective stories.

To begin with, Kate Chopin gives a glimpse of misplaced identity in the beginning of the story when she tells of how Derisee was found lying while a little baby in the shadow of a pillar at Monsieur Valmonde’s gate. When Derisee was adopted as a baby, no one including her adopters knew where she was from or who her parents were and neither did she have a name (Cummings). She was alone with no family to identify with. She was named Derisee by her adoptive parents and her growing up knowing that she was their child showed her misplaced identity. Even as she was near to get married, Monsieur Valmonde mentions to Armand about her obscure origin and the fact that no one knew where she came from “she was nameless” (Beinschroth, pg548.)

Another form of misplaced identity is illustrated when the baby starts to grow and in the process starts to change color. Armand desires husband confronts her to tell the truth about the baby’s origin. Armand claims that Derisee is part black and his rage leads him to chase both Derisee and the baby from his home. While burning their belongings, he comes across a letter in which his late mother describes to his father how she was grateful that they were able not to reveal to Armand of her African descent. Armand only realizes this this late that he accused Derisee of being of African descent yet he was the one. Their baby can also be said to have a misplaced identity since throughout the story, Kate fails to identify him with a name in a scenario where he is identified only as desires baby (Cummings).

In the story of “A Jury of her Peers,” Glaspell illustrates the theme of misplaced identity in how she depicts Minnie foster’s life including the two other women throughout the scene. Minnie is described as a “lifeless zombie” by Mrs. Hale, as she has no joy in her home. Mrs. Hale remembers the days when Minnie was a “bird-like” woman who “liked to sing and wear pretty dresses” as she tries to figure out what went wrong (Glaspell). Her and Mrs. Peters figure that her husband’s hard stance on her might be the reason why Minnie is not who she was anymore. She has lost the identity that was Minnie foster a “free bird” and not married to the zombie-like being that marriage has turned her into.

The two women, Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters on the other hand are depicted in a case of misplaced identity because of their role in the fate of Minnie wright. In the story, the world restricts women from enjoying the freedom that men enjoy and confines them to their homes where they have to be submissive to their husbands. While at the scene of the murder, the two women knowingly tamper with the evidence hence concealing all leads that could keep Minnie in her jail cell. The two women take the opportunity to play a role of active investigation that is not naturally theirs to help a fellow woman that they share the same experience with (champlin).

The two stories were craftily written in a way that would be more appealing and concise to the reader. The writers, in a rather literary style illustrate the theme of misplaced identity through different characters albeit on different occasions that are interconnected. In the first story, misplaced identity is reflected at the beginning of the story through when the baby is born up to the end when Armand finds out that it’s actually him who is of African descent. The second story shows the theme through reflections of the two distinct lives of Minnie and the role played by Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters to conceal the evidence.

Did you like this sample?
  1. Champlin, Nikola. “A Jury of Her Peers Themes: The Subjugation of Women.” LitCharts. LitCharts LLC, 18 Jun 2015. Web. 9 Mar 2017.
  2. Beinschroth, Melissa. “Desiree’s Baby”. Prezi.Com, 2012, https://prezi.com/nigaiwjf2dxa/desirees-baby/.
  3. Cummings, Michael J. “Désirée’s Baby-Study Guide”. Cummingsstudyguides, 2010, https://www.cummingsstudyguides.net/Guides6/DesBaby.html.
  4. Glaspell, Susan. “A Jury Of Her Peers — Full Text”. Learner.Org, 2016, https://www.learner.org/exhibits/literature/story/fulltext.html.
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