The Women in Black Themes & Motifs

Madeleine St John
This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Women in Black.
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Gender Roles

By setting the novel in post-World War II Australia, the author is able to explore the ways in which cultural expectations shape her female characters' understandings of themselves. Living in the 1950s, Patty, Fay, Magda, and Lisa are consigned to rigid prescriptions of who they can be and what they can do. While they all hold jobs at Goode's Department Store, they are expected to leave their job once they are married or have children. Because Patty is "a woman well into her childbearing years with no baby to nurse," her family, friends, and coworkers consider her circumstances "entirely unnatural" (5). The women in the novel also judge Fay's unconventional life. At 28, she is unmarried and lives alone. Though she is constantly searching for a suitable boyfriend, and desperate to be married, she often finds "herself crying, because the time was so long in coming" (15). Magda...

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This section contains 2,077 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Women in Black Study Guide
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