How does Barbara rebel against traditional feminine roles in Major Barbara?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Barbara in this excellent play rebels in lots of ways against the traditional feminine roles imposed on her and against the class that she has been born into. Note how she is born into an upper class family. However, she dismisses her servant and lives very simply as part of being a member of the Salvation Army. Note too the way that she is put in contact with people that she would never have met if she hadn't left her family and social upbringing. The taciturn and stubborn Bill Walker is a classic example of the kind of potentially dangerous individual from the working class that Barbara is now putting herself in daily contact with. It is in this renunciation of the benefits available to her both as a woman and as a member of the upper class that constitute her rebellion, as she works among the poor and seeks to save their souls, rejecting the materialism and "evil" as she sees it of her father's work. Of course, the play represents her development as a character, chiefly focussing on her understanding of how the boundary lines between "good" and "evil" are often blurred.

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Major Barbara

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