The concept of Simone de Beauvoir’s myth of women discussed in ‘The Second Sex’ was still very much prevalent in the 1960s when ‘To Room nineteen’ was set and certainly at the time of ‘Strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’. In the 1960s, in accordance with the second wave of feminism, women were thought to be more conscious and aware of their rights as a woman because of the media (Hanisch)1 and this is what we, as a reader could easily deduce from the beginning of Doris Lessing’s ‘To room nineteen’. This new- found consciousness however …show more content…
In this text however Susan obviously cannot find complete happiness as she is tied to her family and tied to the cultural expectations of the time. When she talks to Miss. Townsend she conveys genuine jealousy and want for a life in solitude, ‘I wish I was absolutely alone in the world, like you’. This draws on the traditional objective in life to marry and have children not actually being the ideal for some women. In fact, being alone for Susan is the ideal and what we can note from this is even today, this can be the ideal for other women too.
Matthew would be seen to have freedom and is definitely not concerned with conforming to social expectations when he so openly discusses his affairs. This may be because his role as a man dictates that he can behave how he likes and other woman, as they are the ‘Other’ (de Beauvoir, 1949), will not question him. When Susan questions as to why Matthew does not feel the same depression as her it states, ‘The good marriage, the house, the children, depended just as much on his voluntary bondage as it did on hers. But why did he not feel bound?’
This could arguably be because there is an unspoken pressure on Susan, as a woman from society, which is unknown to the couple. This makes all choices, seemingly decided by them both, actually decided by society. This unknown pressure on Susan is why Matthew doesn’t feel bound.
The idea of freedom is also