Women In The Religious Society Of Deptford

1810 words - 7 pages

First Main Point: Women who violate the norms and values of the religious society of Deptford are judged harshly and are subjected to cruel punishment.
Sub-point 1: The narrow minded views of the townspeople make them quick to judge women who are “different” .
Mary Dempster is an excellent example of someone who is different and does not embody the values of Deptford society. She is the young, light-hearted wife of the Baptist preacher. She is considered to be somewhat simple-minded and unsuitable as a minister’s wife because she lacks interest and aptitude for housekeeping and cooking and laughs like a girl at her own failures when she tries do such things. Also, her generous nature makes her incapable of living within her husband’s income. Instead of being thrifty, she is more interested in giving things away. On one occasion, she gives away an ornamental vase that the Church had provided as part of the furnishings of their house. This action causes a big uproar because the villagers view this as stealing from her husband’s Church. Mary Dempster’s kindness and generosity of spirit are definitely viewed by them as major character flaws.
Also, as noted by the Bookrags study guide, Mary’s refusal to take her husband’s fears and securities seriously and her positive attidude and faith that life will work out for the best are not looked upon favourably by the villagers. They believe she is too simple and silly to understand her husband’s fears.
When breast-feeding her infant, Mary is not concerned about covering up. Thus she is viewed as having no sense, and “opinion grew that [she] was simple.” (p. 27)
Sub-point 2: Women who violate the moral law are ostracized and subjected to cruel and unusual punishment.
Mary’s generosity combined with her simple-mindedness result in an “extradordinary act of charity” When she meets up by chance with a tramp in the gravel pit, she allows him to make love to her. When she is discovered in the act, she explains to her husband, ‘He was very civil, ‘Masa. And he wanted it so badly” (p. ). The people of Deptford are shocked . [quote p. 49 what stuck in the craws of women …she had yielded because a man had wanted her to. They are not able to understand Mary’s actions and how they may be associated with her need to show kindness. Although, she is considered to be “simple-minded”, the villagers don’t show any leniency or compassion. The villagers make fun of her by calling her a “hoor”. When her husband resigns from his position and they have no prospects of income, most people, in particular the women, are opposed to giving them any assistance. Mrs. Ramsay who had been helping out when baby Paul was born, and showing Mary the ropes with regards to housework turns against her. It is interesting to note that even though the religions of the town speak of mercy and forgiveness, neither of these is offered to Mary.
Not only does Mary Demspter becomes the town disgrace, she is...

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