Unmasking the Bourgeoise

Traditional View of Marriage

A Love Story




Real Life

Women came to marriage with the expectation of enriching their husbands' lives and of bringing them happiness by their constant doting. The thought of the time was that men needed affectionate support from women because of their inconsistent character that lacked a solid foundation. Women, therefore, were to provide men with love, perhaps the kind a mother would give to her child, to remove all of the harmful obstacles that stood in their path and to give men full rein to good instincts.

But there were anomalies to this. "While society regarded women as its moral guardians, moral strength was clearly insufficient protection in itself from society's pitfalls and dangers. Women were simultaneously the supporting structure, and the helpless parasites of society (Calder, 13). In literature, women were depicted as having in their nature a susceptibility that needed to be guarded and controlled by the strength of men. This is illustrated in a passage from Jules Simon's book, L'Ouvriere de huit ans published in 1861:

"If there is one thing that nature teaches us beyond any doubt, it is that woman is made to be protected, to live with her mother while still a girl and as a wife under the protection and authority of her husband…Women are made to hide their lives" (Perrot, 253).