Incidents In A Simple Heart Essay

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Both Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and A Simple Heart give the reader insight into the life of women through narratives spanning two different time periods and cultures. Historically women have been marginalized in nearly every aspect of culture, but especially in literature. Both Jacobs and Flauberts give context to the myriad struggles that women have faced throughout the course of history. In comparison to men, females have been undereducated, misinformed, exploited, assaulted and made to feel inferior. While their lives are every bit as important as any member of the opposite sex, few writers have been able to convey the small truths and large obstacles that women must endure. Both texts provide insight into the female persona,…show more content…
In the first few lines Flauberts writes “for a hundred francs a year, she cooked and did the housework, washed, ironed, mended, harnessed the horse, fattened the poultry, made the butter and remained faithful to her mistress” (Flauberts). Felicite is a hardworking woman who seems to have only one purpose in life. This is intentionally misleading as Flaberts uses the life of his protagonist to show that looks and assumptions are both inherently deceptive. This parallels the belief that women, just like men, are much more than society has deemed them to be. The contrast between her limiting appearance and the scope of detail in the rest of the narrative, serves as a constant reminder that gender roles and perceptions ignore the unique individuality and experiences that people possess. Flaubert also uses his narrative prose to highlight social inequality. The main character, like many women for thousands of years, had extremely limited access to education. We read, “Paul explained the pictures to Felicite...and, in fact, this was her only literary education” (Flauberts). He gives general insight into Felicite’s culture - her first lover struggles with class and marries a wealthy older woman to avoid the military draft and throughout her life she finds communion through religion. overall, however, because the prose is so short and spans Felicite’s life, the portrayal

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