The identity crisis of women from the perspective of ‘The Darling’ and ‘Profession for women’
The concept of “identity crisis” originates in the work of developmental psychologist Erik Erikson, who believed that the formation of identity was one of the most important parts of a person’s life.
When people are confused about their role or goal in life they face an identity crisis. Identity crisis is one of the common conflicts people face during their development. Erikson described identity as a subjective sense as well as an observable quality of personal sameness and continuity, paired with some belief in the sameness and continuity of some shared world image. As a quality of unself-conscious living, this can be gloriously obvious in a young person who has found himself as he has found his communality.’ The protagonist of ‘The Darling’ Olenka is the best example of an identity crisis. She is a person, who needs a male in her life, she feels empty without a male. The Russian author Anton Chekov introduced this woman who is representing the dependency of women on men.
The main character of ‘The Darling’ is familiar as Olenka. Olenka is constantly in love with someone or other. She finds it difficult to live without the dominance of a male partner. The first love with Mr. Kukin the manager of the theatre called the Trivoli. He is now ruined because rain has driven his customers. He is very pessimistic about his life but a deep and genuine feeling arises in Olenka and she falls in love with her fretful neighbor. The narrator has described how Olenka has always been in love with someone starting with her father as a young child and she feels affection from most of the people she meets. Even her female friends have also expressed their love for Olenka by saying “Oh you Darling”. After the sudden death of Lukin. Olenka moves towards Vasily Pustovalov, the Marchant of a local timber yard. The writer notes that Olenka liked him very much, and after a few days her love turns into a relationship with Vasily and they married. She started helping her husband. In the meantime, she makes friends with the veterinary surgeon named Smirnin. After six years Pustovalo died and she become a widow. Olenka retreats into virtual isolation. But Olenka and Smirnin soon become lovers. Unfortunately, Smirnin is posted to a camp near Siberia and Olenka becomes absolutely alone. The lonely widow grows thinner and frets that she no longer knows what to talk about. This is irony years later Smirnin reappears and informs Olenka that he has reunited with his wife and young son. Olenka suggested that the family move into her home and that Olenka can live in the attached cottage. The aging widow immediately falls in love with the Smirin’s old son Shasa. Thus the whole story represents the identity crisis of our protagonist Olenka. Because of her identity crisis view of life, she has never given of her walking of life.
On the other hand ‘profession for women’ by Virginia Woolf is addressing a group of women seeking employment in a workforce predominated by men. She speaks of the struggle present for all women writers, and that is to break out of the conventions society has for women- being pure, conservative, and sycophantic towards men without a mind of their own. This is a mental barrier that she was able to break, with great difficulty, in order to incorporate her own voice into her writing. She was able to do so thanks to her financial independence, which allowed her to not depend on writing for a livelihood and allowed her to break conventions. Now that women will join the workforce, Woolf says that it is important to ask questions regarding what all of this implies, how women are to behave once they are professionals and to explore the individual voice that women will need to bring to their jobs. Some women succeeded as writers among other professions due to the relative cheapness associated with the work. In Professions for Women, the character realizes that before she can accept herself as a professional woman, however, she must first confront her demons. She believes in the necessity of destroying what she calls ‘The Angel in the House. ‘The Angel in the House is an ideal. She is the woman writer’s subconscious, a subconscious brought on by generations of an oppressive Victorian society. This woman is the creation of men. She is the charming, quiet, unselfish, and ‘pure’ woman of the house. In other words, she did not have or want to have a mind or wish of her own, much less a room of her own.
The only way for the character to be able to write honestly about novels written by men was to kill the ‘Angel in the House, to get rid of this submissive image of a woman who never disputes anything, and goes along with everything. ‘…I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous man, she slipped behind me and whispered: My dear, you are a young woman. You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all of the arts and wiles of our sex. Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own. Above all, be pure.’ The character’s only way out was the vanquishing of this mindless Victorian product. ‘Killing the Angel in the House was part of the occupation of a woman writer.’ The character, much like the author, could not accept that the only way for a woman to succeed in life was to charm, conciliate, and lie her way through the maze of male-dominated social structures.
This two-story represents two kinds of women with different points of view on life. One is dependent on men another is trying to find her own way to live life. Our society is based on male domination. It’s a practice done by both men and women. Women and men are dependable on each other in every perspective of their life. But the dominance of men over females is common practice for a long time. In the study of the history of the growth of women’s rights throughout recorded history, the personal achievement of women is always neglected. It’s seen that more traditioturenal recordings of history have minimized or ignored the contribution of women. This ignorance makes women dependent on male people.
Culture and society have a huge impact on gender roles. America receives thousands of cultural messages each week concerning gender roles, including advertisements, movies, TV, music, magazines, and family influence. This constant bombardment of information presents traditional and evolving less-traditionally defined gender roles. People subconsciously and consciously take in this cultural information about gender roles. They then evaluate the information to try and understand how the information applies to them and how they should then operate within society. While many people and organizations challenge these traditional gender roles, the influence of mainstream culture remains evident in perceptions while other cultural influences are growing.
From the perspective of Bangladesh, gender inequality is improving, ‘In 2015, Bangladesh was ranked 139 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index and 47 out of 144 countries surveyed on the Gender Inequality Index in 2017. Many of the inequalities are the result of extreme poverty and traditional gender norms centered on a patrilineal and patriarchal kinship system in rural areas.’
Women are dependent on men this is a social norm. society and culture is telling this for a long time. The idea of dependence versus independence can cause internal conflict, according to Colette Dowling’s book, ”The Cinderella Complex: Women’s Hidden Fear of Independence.’Psychological effects of this dependency and conflict are a lack of self-esteem, lack of confidence, anxiety, and inability to function in the workplace according to Dowling.