The Gentle Lena Essay

Words: 1223
Pages: 5

Lena’s gentle, sweet, servant-like behavior was a commentary on the way on the way society saw and treated women in the early 20th century. Lena did not have an opinion of her own, she did not know how to make decisions on her own; she was told what to think, where to work, what to do with her money, her free time and her future; her life was designed by someone else because she was a women and unable to make decisions for herself. In the early 20th century society treated women as though they were not important, their duties were to have children, cook and clean for their husbands and much like children of this timeperiod, women were to be were to be seen but their voices not heard with regards to anything outside of the family. It …show more content…
The other girls that Lena sat with at the park when she took the little girl there to play, “…did tease her, but then that only made a gentle stir within her.”(Stein 143) Lena never got mad about the way she was treated, she accepted the treatment and moved on.
After four years of searching for the right husband for Lena, the son of a tailor, Herman Kreder, a german-american was choosen. Mrs. Hoydon told Lena that she would marry Herman Kreder, she did not ask ask Lena whether or not she wanted to get married; in fact Mrs. Hoydon rarely asked Lena anything, she always told Lena.
When Mrs. Hoyden at last asked Lena about her thoughts about Herman, it is done with anger, disdain and ridicule:
Why don’t you answer with some sense, Lena, when I ask you if you don’t like Herman Kreder. You stand there so stupid and don’t answer like you ain’t heard a word what I been saying to you…Lena, when you stand there so stupid and don’t make no answer. (Stein 149)
When finally you hear Lena speak about her upcoming marriage, she does not express what she wants she just acquieses to her Aunt’s demand:
Why, I do anything you say, Aunt Mathilda…I didn’t hear you say you wanted I should say anything to you. I didn’t know you wanted me to say nothing. I do whatever you tell me it’s right for me to do. I marry Herman Kreder, if you