Monday, April 02, 2007

Tietjen's connection to the suffrage movement

After doing much reasearch I found a paper written by Anne Marie Flanagan that discusses Ford's Women who are represented in Parade's End. She writes that World War 1 deeply affect the novel's hero, Christopher Tietjens, both physically and emotionally. The most interesting thing that she states is that the war that really threatens to destroy him is the one being waged between the sexes. This extends beyond the novel to the outside world. The extent to which women's issues affect all aspects of the society.
Ford and his hero, Tietjens appear to be siding with those who support the suffrage movement.
When Marie Flanagan mentions that women's issues affect all aspects of the society she mentiones Samuel Hyne's words:
"The trouble with women during the Edwardian period was simply that their troubles could not be kept separate and distinct, but kept getting mixed up with each other and with other social issues: contraception threatened the family and the birth rate, divorce threatened the Church and the stability of society, suffrage threatened political balances, and so even the most moderate move toward liberation seemed a rush toward chaos." (Samuel Hynes)
Parade's End comes from this complicated and anxious period in wome's history.
It is known that Ford had his own difficulties with women. Another thing is that Ford supported suffragette movement. He felt anxiety toward women. He supported women's causes but tended to contain and control the advancement of women.
His hero Tietjens also appears to be siding with those who support the suffrage movement. Ford does not portray the women, as many suffragettes were then portrayed, as hysterical and ineffective. The men are portrayed in a realistic and negative light, supporting the notion that Ford was trying to be historically accurate, as well as sympathetic to the women involved in the cause.
(Source: Anne Marie Flanagan. Winter 200/2001 Journal of Modern Literature: Vol.24. University of Sciences in Philadelphia. )


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