Despite their restraints, many females craved higher education, and success in a world of educated, professional, ambitious men. However, and accepted their inferior status, with no desire to pursue anything more. Ambition verses acceptance divided women - those who were brave and willing, challenged the traditional roles. Two of those women were Victorian writers Mary Wollstonecraft and Christina Rossetti. Female writers were criticized and dismissed by most; however, these two two writers used their literature to entertain the idea of female success and eventual equality.
- Women "acquire manners before morals", because without education, they do not have the knowledge to appreciate or understand morals.
- Lizzie - Woman accepting her place, making no effort to succeed otherwise.
- Laura - Woman curious of what lies beyond the simple, female lifestyle.
- The goblins and the Goblin Market - Represent the temptations which lie outside the household and caretaking lifestyle of Lizzie and Laura. Regardless of their dangerous nature, they represent possibility of something new and exciting.
- Depending on interpretation, Rossetti's poem can be a promotion of female curiosity, or acceptance of female inferiority.
- Women are expected to sacrifice education for beauty; "(For women) strength and usefulness are sacrificed to beauty; and the flaunting leaves, after having pleased a fastidious eye, fade, disregarded on the stalk" (290).
- Expected to look innocent, unassuming and conservative, exactly how they were expected to act.
- Once their beauty fades, women lost value.
- Because of her unquenched desire for the goblin's forbidden fruit, Laura ages and "she no more swept the house,/ tended the fowls or cows/... but sat down listeless in the chimney-nook/ and would not eat" (1657).
- Laura knows her true desire, and as a result, no longer finds comfort in her daily duties, risking her life to experience what she wants.
- Laura's dependence on her own, unusual desire can be:
POSITIVE: depicting a woman finding desires of her own, outside of what she is expected to desire.NEGATIVE: depticting female curiosity as something harmful, as the goblins are to Laura.
- More women than men studying in college undergraduate programs.
- Women still face some discrimination, mainly being confined into certain areas of study.
- Areas of study include those involving caretaking, such as Human Services, Elementary Education, Nursing, etc.
- More acceptable to define your own style of beauty.
- A woman will be judged more harshly than a man for appearance.
- Beauty and appearance has become more based around individual preference.
- Households run by single mothers, who do all of the housework and caretaking while being the breadwinner.
- More women who were/are never married - they prefer living without a partner, with financial, general independence.
- Women can hold higher occupational positions - make more money.
- Females voicing their opinions in English and American culture - acceptable and even encouraged.
* Many of these stem from centuries of patriarchal beliefs and traditions presenting women as the weaker sex.
- body image/appearance issues
- expectations of motherhood and housekeeping
- lower wages/ job discrimination
- violence/abuse against women (physical, mental, sexual)