The role of women is a significant theme in the story, ‘The Place of Settlement’
The role of women is a significant theme in the story, ‘The Place of Settlement.’ The role of women is illustrated through Susan’s mother who tells her daughter bedtime stories. Susan’s mother and Susan’s grandmother lived at different times bound by different cultures and their roles differ significantly. Susan’s mother did not get any bedtime stories from her mother since she was always busy and tired. When she was free, she would sit outside the bedroom and crotchet. This illustrates the difference between the period and the culture that the women lived. Susan’s grandmother lived in the 19th century when women were considered to be inferior to men. Women were supposed to stay in the house and take care of the children and the husband, while the men were supposed to work. Susan’s mother illustrates this notion as she describes her mother and father’s life. Her father was a doctor, and he loved his patients. When she was sick, her mother could not visit her in the hospital since she was busy taking care of her brothers and her husband. It is deducible that in the 19th century, women had no free time. This is different from the 20th century where women have free time to even tell their children bedtime stories.
According to Susan’s mother, her father was a man from the old world. From this claim, it is evident that Susan’s mother disagrees with her father’s attitude and treatment towards her mother. By mentioning the ‘old world’ Susan’s mother referred to the 18th and 19th centuries when the society was uncivilized. Women were treated as property, and they had no say. According to Susan’s mother, wives had to behave in a certain manner, and her mother had to wait on her father. Her mother had to work according to the schedule that her father set, serving breakfast as soon as he was dressed. She had to do everything perfectly and according to his will or he would be gent angry. Susan’s mother says, “If she didn’t time his eggs exactly right, he would explode (Singer, 191).” Her mother was treated s a slave since he tormented and he belittled her. Susan’s grandmother was educated, but in the patriarchal society, this did not mean a thing since women belonged to the house. Women lived at the mercy of men. Susan’s mother highlights, “in our house she was no better than a slave.”
From the story, it is clear that the role of women determines their relationships with other people. To the society, Susan’s grandmother was a loving woman, but in the house, she was a slave because she was under the man’s rule. The role of women in the family affects their relationship with their children. Susan’s mother lives in a society and a time when women are treated equally to men. She freely talks to her daughter and shares stories, unlike her mother who could not even visit her in hospital. Also, instead of sharing stories with her daughter during her free time, Susan’s grandmother chose to crotchet outside her daughter’s bedroom. When her mother died, Susan’s mother did not notice. She says, “One day a neighbor woman came to my room and told me she was dead (Singer, 192).” She looked at her mother’s bed and could not find her because she had already been taken away. This shows the significant distance between mother and daughter in the patriarchal society. Susan’s grandmother was too busy taking care of her