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1 Women in Crisis Jovenel Jeanty Professor Entin American 20.1

1 Women in Crisis Jovenel Jeanty Professor Entin American 20.1

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Published by: JovenelJeanty on Oct 06, 2009
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 Women in CrisisJovenel JeantyProfessor EntinAmerican 20.1 During the Great Depression writers sought to display the physical, economic and social turmoilfamilies were going through. The image of men waiting in long lines is instilled in many peoples mind.Though men suffered women and children also felt the impact of the Great Depression. Even though itseems to me that women and children were forgotten during the Great Depression by writers. Many of the stories are male dominated or make hardly any mention of women and children at all. Thedescription of poverty and hard times from a woman or child perspective are absent. Both Olsen andLesueur emerge during a time of great misfortune. Meridel Lesueur and Tillie Olsen began their writing careers during the 1930s and were strongly influenced by those on the left. Though each haddifferent styles Tillie Olsen’s Yonnondio and Meridel Lesueur’s Women on the Breadlines puts themain emphasis on the forgotten. The forgotten are the women and children. They both take everyoneinto the minds of those who seemed to be rejected by many writers during the Great Depression.Although Yonnondio is about the poor and oppressed people of America, it is a story that focuses onthe women and children’s plight during the Great Depression. The constant oppression of poor womenis one of the major themes of Yonnondio. Not only that but with Olsen she intertwines women andtheir role in the family. The odd element about Yonnondio is the narrator. The novel is in the point of view of Mazie so that the world can see what the children went through when things were tough athome. Olsen doesn’t go through the regular route of putting the father or the mother as the maincharacter. She ignores this route because this could lead to an opinionated thought by either the mother or father. Instead by using Maize we are able to get a better sense of what is going on during these1
difficult times. As a child Maize has no reason to concoct up a story to benefit the reader. Through theeyes of the child it enables one to get a sense of realism. This is exactly what I think Olsen had in mindwhen she was writing Yonnondio. Also knowing that the narrative comes from six year old Maize thereis really no point in second guessing anything that she has to say. So when Maize states that she seesher father hitting one of the children or her mom the reader knows it happened. When the children burnthe chicks the reader knows it happened. There remains little doubt to Maize’s stories. Its throughMaize eyes we are able to bear witness to beatings, death, discontent, despair, resentment and manyother ailments cause by the Great Depression.In Meridel Lesueur’s section about women during the depression, we get a better look at this rather murky topic as she discusses the crises among jobless women during the depression. It is the wayLesueur goes about it that throws me off. She acted not as a distant observer, but a co-participant in thewomen's despair and a fighter for their survival. Meridel Le Sueur recorded the struggle of poor womenduring the Depression. While reading Women on the Breadline it seems as if Lesueur is a news reporter  just interviewing everyone she sees.The reportorial voice doesn't keep itself separate from the matter itdescribes, but, rather, identifies with the women and their distress.All the women in the job agencyhave a different story as to how they got to where they’re at. Her characters are not simply poor or abused because of their economic circumstances or race or sex or sexual orientation. Their problemsare more difficult than that, and she shaped her writing style from their voices. She discusses the storiesof multiple women. Lesueur seems to be on the frontline. At the same time she seems to be live andnot planning to edit any of her material.Similar to Maize’s reporting style it’s hard to doubt the stories told by the women. So when shedescribes a woman getting mad and screaming at an employee at the Y.W.C.A. because she had beenwaiting 8 months for a job and was still hungry you know it happened. When Le Sueur provides uswith the woman who has not known the feeling of having money for so long that she ends up spending2
it all immediately in a moment of brief happiness the reader knows it happened. tOne of the biggest differences I see between Olsen and Lesueur is the interaction betweenfamilies. For Olsen it’s mostly about the Holbrooks. Even thoughYonnondio seems to be centered onAnne and Maize the children and father are constantly close.
I feel as though
Olsen she wanted toconcentrate on the not just the women but the every day struggles of the family also.Olsen chose tofocus her narrative on the family unit and women's role within that family unit.This was important because she to make folks realized that women were the head of the household when men had to seek work.Introducing Americans to poor women was the goal of Lesueur. She didn’t mention the family a lotthroughout the article.I feel as though she was more concentrated on women’s rights. For Lesueur Ithink she really wanted to focus on women alone.In Women on the Breadline I feel like the women atthe job agency are family. In the article some even had seen each other before. With Lesueur thewomen are alone. They don’t speak to each other.These women are isolated and apart from oneanother even though they share the same room. Can you imagine a group of women together for a longtime and not speaking? Lesueur makes a small mention of the women having or not having family butthey too seemed separated.
LeSueur was a writer who focuses on women, who had losttheir jobs, faced starvation, and were
abandoned by husbands who were forced toseek work.
Both authors also shared similarities. Olsen is not objective at all. She has plenty of opportunitiesto throw in her feelings. You would think with the brutal acts of Jim committed against his own family,Olsen would throw in a few of her opinions. These opinions never show up. There is no hint of bias.Olsen’s ability to shield the reader of her views is critical. She leaves it up to the reader to formulatethere own opinions and beliefs.The same goes for Lesueur. She is a news reporter and is live. Just like a news reporter they give3

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