The previous post discusses the theme of traditions. I agree with that post, and I would like to add some additional thoughts to the theme of tradition. Anowa is unique in her community because she openly flaunts long standing traditions of what it means to be a woman and...
The previous post discusses the theme of traditions. I agree with that post, and I would like to add some additional thoughts to the theme of tradition. Anowa is unique in her community because she openly flaunts long standing traditions of what it means to be a woman and what is expected of her as a woman. While I agree that tradition is a big part of that theme, I also see that the play has running through it a theme about gender roles.
Anowa is not a woman who wants to be kept at home in order to make babies and cook food for her husband. Anowa wants to work, and she wants to work beside her husband. She's viewed as odd because of how hard she works, and her husband knows this. In phase two of the play, Anowa's husband even comments that Anowa is not behaving the way a woman should behave.
"This life is not good for a woman. No, not even a woman like you."
What her husband doesn't understand is that Anowa likes working. She thrives on it. It gives her life a purpose and direction. Late in phase two, Anowa even flat out tells her husband this.
"I cannot be happy if I am going to stop working."
Thematically, I see Anowa as a character that is teaching audiences about gender equality. The husband believes that his wife shouldn't work because she is a woman. That's it. That's his only reason; therefore, he buys slaves to allow her to rest. What Anowa believes is that a person should be allowed to work at what makes them happy regardless of gender. Her passion and zeal in this regard do make her a very prideful person, which is another theme in the play. That pride in her own work drives Anowa, her decisions, and her actions; therefore, a final theme of the play is a theme about choices and consequences. She chooses to tell her husband that he should remarry a more traditional woman. He chooses not to and instead buys slaves to do Anowa's work. This angers her, and she chooses to angrily respond. Their marriage continues in this downward spiral until they both commit suicide.