Women without voices or opinions, women with very few choices in their own lives, women who totally stood by the men in their lives those are the pictures we see today of women from generations long ago. Perhaps those were the good old days for the men of the world, but perhaps women today feel differently.
In the short stories Eveline by James Joyce and A Rose for Emily by William Faulkner, images of two women, living under the control of their fathers, are clearly depicted through characters named Eveline and Emily. Both women suffer from abuse at the hands of their fathers. This abuse has strong effects on their lives even after the fathers are deceased. These men succeeded in driving away not only the men that might have become a part of the women s lives, but also their hopes and dreams of happiness. Of course, her father had found out the affair and had forbidden her to have anything to say to him (Joyce 5). Emily s father believed None of the men were quite good enough for Miss Emily (Faulkner 317). Perhaps both of these men neglected to realize neither the immediate nor the lasting effects this torture would place on the lives of Eveline and Emily.
Quite often, I believe the situation of parents controlling children to be easier than that of a husband controlling a wife. We are taught as small children to do as we are told, suffering great consequences when we choose the opposite. In church we hear Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother (Ephesians 6:1-2). Often times, a child is unable to believe that a parent would take action resulting in a negative effect on
Children of today often choose not to accept the kind of abuse Eveline and Emily were forced to suffer. The two of them were not entitled to many choices. They had no where else to turn because it was unacceptable to defy authority. There are many more options for children today; they have somewhere else to turn. Several organizations exist whose main objective is to assist abused children by providing a place of refuge and helping to prosecute abusive parents. Those organizations also provide assistance to parents, helping them learn the proper ways to rear a child in today s society.
These two short stories took place in a time when children were only to be seen and not heard. While somewhat true today, deterrence from that tradition is at times acceptable. Children are looked upon differently by today s society, which has resulted in changing the ways we rear them. Forms of discipline including time-out have replaced corporal punishment. A parent has to be very careful in disciplining his/her own child or face charges of abuse from authorities.
As adults, women of today are also viewed differently. Women did not normally take roles outside of the home in the time period of Emily and Eveline. Currently, we see fewer women choosing to stay at home and raise a family. Society accepts women in a diverse range of roles today from factory workers, company executives, heads of state, to members of congress.
I feel safe in saying that women and children alike have come a long way since the days of Eveline and Emily. Maybe, in some ways, those were the good old days, but there is a possibility of even better days to come. The roads of today have forks in them; the direction we turn is our choice.
McMahan, Susan X. Day, and Robert Funk. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 1999.
Day, and Robert Funk. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice, 1999. 315-320.