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The Plight of Housewives in the early 1900’s By Alex Wu and Hank Worster


Genre 1: 10 helpful tips to being the best late 1800’s to early 1900’s housewife. 1. You have to marry before the age of 30 2. Never argue with your husband. 3. Always have a hot meal ready when your husband get’s home from work. 4. Make sure that all clothes are washed.


5. Do all the chores like cleaning the house and make sure that everything is in order for when your husband gets home. 6. Bare many children to spread your husband’s family name. 7. If you and your husband have any daughters teach them how to be a good housewife. 8. Whenever company is over make sure to use the good silver and cook the finest meals. 9. Do not bother yourself with things like politics and make sure you get plenty of rest being that you are so weak. 10. Last but certainly not least you must never leave the house without permission or accompaniment.


Genre 2: Symptoms: Weakness, Lack of work ethic Patient: Olivia Browning Diagnosis: Hysteria Prescription: Lots of rest, Isolation from the out side world, limited amount of work.

Symptom: Paranoia Patient: Molly Maguire Diagnosis: Hysteria Prescription: no visitation forms anyone even family, any taking care of children, and bed rest for almost the entire. Discovered Cause: Being a Woman

Patient: Suzanne Rice Symptoms: Hallucinations, depression Prescription: Go to another doctor who is more specialized or a mental treatment facility Diagnosis: Hysteria Suspected Cause: Fragility brought about by being women


Genre 3: Dear Molly, I hate my husband so much. He’s making me do the most boring and dull chores ever. I’m cleaning the entire house over and over and checking things 4 times. I wash all his clothes everyday. I hate him so much. Sincerely, Louise Mallard


Dear Louise, I am aware of your sorrows. My husband also is making do rather dull things. All the things you stated in your last letter and it includes preparing a different every night. If it’s not up to his standards, he makes his criticism known very rudely. I hate marriage. Sincerely, Molly Everdeen


Dear Molly, I just found out that my husband will be leaving on a train for a business trip. I welcome the opportunity to have the house to myself for a few days. Finally a break from the ever-repeating list of chores that my life has become since marriage. I dread the day he comes back. Sincerely, Louise Mallard


Genre 4: April 20th, 1906 Dear Diary, Today, I finally realized that when I made the decision to marry Howard, I gave up all my hopes and dreams of becoming a music teacher. All those years of hard work at music all for naught. I have become a simple housewife and am trapped here in this desolate wasteland with no outside contact. I will soon go to visit my nephew to settle an estate we acquired and perhaps see how the outside world has progressed.


April 29th, 1906 Dear Diary, I have finally arrived in Boston, and my how the city has grown. Everywhere I look there are big buildings, bigger than I’ve ever seen them. My nephew is taking me to the concert and I am excited to finally reconnect with the musical world. However I mu remain aloof in front lest I show him how much I hate my life.


Genre 5: Women’s Quarterly December 1899

Our Womanly Duties, what exactly are they? By: Virginia Mace Fish With many women trying to challenge the ways we have lived for so long, with the men in charge and the women in secondary house keeping rolls, I thought it necessary to outline exactly what we are supposed to be doing as women and wives. One thing that some of these women are complaining about is that they are not really aloud to keep jobs. This is not true at all. Un-married women may have jobs in factories or even as school teachers, if they were lucky enough to learn to read and write as a child. While married women should not keep jobs for a multitude of reasons. First off they need to be in charge of the home and take care of the children if any are present. Another reason is that they need to have dinner ready and the house cleaned for there husbands when they get home from work. On top of that we are frail and weak and working could be detrimental to our health. Having a job could also have a very negative affect on your husbands moral and your marriage. It is the job of the husband to provide for his family, if his wife also has a job it will be stripping his purpose in life from him. Aside from not working women need to cook and clean the house on a regular basis. We need to make sure that the house is ship shape and that we have a hot meal on the table when our husbands get home so that they do not have to worry about anything else other then relaxing after a long days work. Our other job is that we have to take care of our children. If this does not apply to you hopefully it will someday. Taking care of the children is probably the most important part of wifely duties. Not only are you forming the leaders of tomorrow but they are carrying on your family name hopefully to greatness. For boys taking care of them is relatively easy they go to school or they play with there friends and as long as they do there home work and get good grades there is nothing extra you need to teach them. But if you have girls there is a lot they need to be taught before going off into the real world. Do not bother sending them to school while knowing how to read or write will not help them find a proper husband. Teach them how to clean and cook for there future husbands to keep him happy. They may be the wives of very important people and they will need to know how to carry themselves in front of others and what to do to help your husband stay in the powerful and fruitful place that he is. Virginia Mace Fish is a dedicated writer of Women’s Quarterly and has been with us for over 30 years.



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