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we were to form an opinion solely from having read history books, it would come
to our attention that men were the only members of society that played an
important role in history. This is not true, of course, there are hundreds of
women who changed the world as we know it, however, they were not acknowledged
in their era. Throughout recent years there has been an overwhelming support
from communities all over the world to help shift the perception of what the
role of housewives and women is. Today, not only are housewives able to lead
successful careers, but they can do so while being a mother, whether at home or
at the workplace; all while being able to enjoy financial and emotional freedom.
In the play “Hedda Gabler” we see how
due to unfair constraints women are stuck in a domestic sphere limited to only
household duties, while in “The Real
Housewives of New Jersey” we notice the progression of society to further
understand actions that at one time may have been considered uncommon. By
using, the reality series “The Real
Housewives of New Jersey” and “Hedda
Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen, this essay will serve to reveal how the roles and
limitations placed on housewives have adjusted over the years.

            Both main characters in “Hedda Gabler” and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” work through domestic conflicts
and marital life. Despite their similarities in which both pieces of work are
developed within society’s scope, there are many differences to take into
account considering the different expectations of women during these two very
different times in history. In the play “Hedda
Gabler”, the character of Hedda symbolizes the need for a change in women’s
role at the time. Henrik Ibsen once said, “A woman
cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively
masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that
judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.” The quote demonstrates
the discrimination that women were faced with at the time when the play “Hedda Gabler” was written. Hedda is
unlike any other character in the play; being raised by a general she was
taught how to ride and shoot. These attributes make her develop an obsession
with violence. Throughout the play, she shows no interest for taking on the
responsibilities of being a wife or mother; though the world cannot blame her.
Women at the time were supposed to be catering to their husband’s every need
and make sure that he is happy and taken care of at all times. Their roles were
also associated with keeping the house clean and looking after the children.
Unable to change the perception of the community, Hedda remained submissive to
societies unwritten laws. In the TV show “The
Real Housewives of New Jersey” we can observe how our society has
eliminated many of the unfair traditional expectations of housewives, yet issues
still exists. However, there has been progression in the sense that some
housewives have been involved in more crucial decisions concerning themselves
and their families. On the one hand, on season 8 episode 3 of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” we
see Margaret, one of the main characters, preparing for her store’s launch
party. This demonstrates how housewives, in this day and age, have been able to
lead successful careers while gaining financial independence from their
husband’s. On the other hand, in the same episode, Melissa’s husband (another
main character in the show) says, “I bought a restaurant.” (The Real Housewives of New Jersey 24:30).
Now while many of us would not mind hearing that, the statement he makes
demonstrates how some men to this day fail to involve their wives in crucial
decisions that in the long run affect them too. His decision to buy a
restaurant without consulting her, makes Melissa feel that her opinion does not
matter and therefore leads her to feel domesticated. The domestic sphere is a
common theme in both works, however, the level of injustice does differ because
Hedda was not only faced with the discrimination of a single man, she was up
against an entire society that shared the same opinion as Melissa’s husband.  

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             The theme of motherhood is explored in both
works, “Hedda Gabler” and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” using
different forms. There are multiple scenarios that are presented in both works
that shed light on what it means to be a mother. The main character’s
perception of motherhood helps us understand more about how the timeline of the
two works helps to shape their opinions on it. In “Hedda Gabler” the idea of motherhood is presented in a very
indirect way because it isn’t until Act 4 that the main character, Hedda,
reveals to her husband that she is pregnant. There were minor hints throughout
the play that display the popular belief in the 1890’s, in Act 2 Judge Brack suggests
that she should find, “…a new calling, my dear Mrs. Hedda.” (Hedda Gabler 806). This implication made
by Judge Brack serves as proof to the readers how women were pressured to have
children because that is what was expected of them at the time. Having to deal
with the responsibilities of being a mother would mean that Hedda would have
less independence. Also, to Hedda being a mother implies having to feel trapped
in the domestic sphere for the rest of her days; an environment that she fully
dislikes. While in “The Real Housewives
of New Jersey” all the main characters in the show are mothers. Although I
cannot speak for women, the TV series really helps us understand how being a
mother no longer is associated with the element of being stuck. Teresa, who is
another main character on the show, says, “I have to do it all on my own.” (The Real Housewives of New Jersey 40:23).
The statement demonstrates how being a mother is not an easy task, in her
scenario she is currently a single mother. Even though she does admit that it
ultimately takes away a portion of her freedom, she mentions how every 

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