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A Gathering Light and The Devil Wears Prada

            A significant change has occurred in the representation of women in the two texts, A Gathering Light and The Devil Wears Prada. Discuss this statement about the two texts remember to comment on the techniques used to represent women in the texts. As time and context changes, significant developments and changes have occurred in the representation of women, their ambitions and ideas of selflessness and choices. This is evident in the novel, A Gathering Light, by Jennifer Donnelly set in the rural Adirondacks in 1906. It is also present in David Frankel's 2006 film, The Devil Wears Prada set in New York City in the early twenty- first century. While values can change over time, women are still expected to conform to society's views. .
             In the early 1900s men in farming communities valued obedience and women were expected to perform all their household roles without objection. Women living in rural poverty were expected to act selflessly with limited ability to make their choices and think for themselves in the largely patriarchal society. Mattie in A Gathering Light does not conform to these ideals as she values education and asks all the questions no one dares to. She treasures her dictionary and its words "bright with possibilities, like a pearl". Jennifer Donnelly uses simile in likening words with shining, luxurious pearls and symbolism to represent Mattie's mother's support of Mattie's dreams and her love of learning as a legacy. However, Mattie's integrity hinders her from breaking her promise to her mother to "never go away" and abandon the family. This metaphor highlights her loyalty to her family and shows the struggle to make a choice between her relationships and the education she values dearly. Mattie feels pressure to be selfless and also feels as though she is dishonouring her mother's dying wish. She continues to support her family despite her opportunity to study at her dream college.

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