Miss Julie, Heredity

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In the play, Miss Julie, we see how her parents have influenced her towards the end of the play. On page 40, Julie is telling Jean all about her mother's view points. "She was brought up believing in the equality of the sexes, women's rights and all that." Julie's mother was a very independent women who had grown up believing that men and women were completely equal. She did not want to marry because she was above taking another man's name. So, Julie's mother and father did not marry at first and Julie said that she believes she was a mistake, and that her mother had not wanted a child. Regardless, her mother still raised her but she made her learn how to do things that boys would typically do. Now, Julie struggles because she was raised to dislike most men and she believes that she is equal with them. I believe that at moments, she actually thinks that she is above men because when they are talking about her ex fiancé, and Jean was confused as to why she was going to marry a man if she thought she was equal she said, "In order to make him my slave." Julie has taken on the views of her mother. 

Her mother was not the nicest woman, though she did end up getting married, she had a lover. She resented her husband for making her partake in marriage, and so she had given her money she'd saved up to her lover to keep. Then, when their house burnt down, they had to borrow the money from her lover and they had to pay it back. When her husband found out that it was actually her money, he was furious and tried to kill himself, but he failed. 

Julie's parents had many issues. Now, Julie is having her own issues. Her fiancé left her and so now she is chasing after the servant, Jean. She has thrown herself at him and now she cannot undo what she has done. People have seen them together and they know many secrets about each other. Now, if she were to stay on the farm, she will be looked down upon. She tries to escape her issues and run away with Jean. She takes her father's money, but they never end up leaving. To save herself now, she must do what her father could not, she must kill herself so that she can end the misery she lives with every day. 

If her parents had not raised her in a way where she believed she was above men, then maybe this all could have been avoided. She wouldn't have lost her fiancé, and she would not have thrown herself at her help. However, since her mother had done malicious things to her father, she was destined to have a troublesome adulthood. 

At the same time, I do not think Julie cares about her reputation because she does dance crazy and she is with Jean throughout the night-who is her servant and a man she wasn't married to-this is seen as deviant, but nonetheless, she does not care. I think this play is controversial in the way men can do what women cannot and when they do they are labeled in negative ways. Why is our culture like this? What makes a double standard exist?

The implications of your analysis is that the play is suggesting that women should not upset the "natural" order of things. The play is "reactionary" in the literal meaning of the word, a reaction against the attempts of women to step out of traditional roles, whether those be social or sexual or both. In this play, it seems to be both, in that Miss Julie steps out of her social role by fraternizing with a servant and out of her sexual role by making sexual advances toward a servant -- something men have always been allowed to do. The play even reminds us of this when it talks about Miss Julie's ancestors. Same thing in terms of the riding crop incident. Miss Julie, in trying to "tame" a man, is "unnatural." Men, however, are praised for, for example "taming the shrew," to borrow from Shakespeare. What do you make of this? Push yourself to think through the implications of your position.

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