Term Paper: Mrs. Warrant's Profession: The Intellectual

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SAMPLE EXCERPT:

[. . .] Warren into his wife's home.

While Shaw approves of prostitution in the case of need, he is in the direct opposite opinion when it comes to continually doing it for only the purposes of greed.

This is apparent when it is discovered by Vivie that Mrs. Warren, while having enough money to live on, still engages in the business of prostitution. Describing her reasons for continuing with her profession Mrs. Warren says, "It means a new dress every day; it means theatres every night... It means everything you like everything you want, everything you can think of." However, these reasons do not evoke the sympathy that accompanied her reasons for starting her occupation in the first place. Instead, they begin to cause her daughter to have feelings of disgust that her mother would do that simply to get even more money than the fortune that she has already have amassed. Ultimately, the relationship disintegrates because Vivie's mother refuses to quit the business even though she realizes that not doing so will end the relationship.

The Conventional Role Model

Shaw's feelings about the conventional role model aren't as pronounced as those he expresses about the intellectual or victimized women, but he provides many hints that he believes the conventional role of a woman is a destructive one. It's interesting that the person who comes the closest to the conventional role mode is Frank's mother, but she never actually appears in the play. Perhaps this is Shaw's way of letting the reader know that the conventional woman plays no effective role in the modern world. Or, even more controversial, perhaps this role model has not been presented because Shaw believes that this ideal no longer really exists.

Shaw's negative thoughts on conventional role models are obvious in Praed's conversation with Vivie on conventionality. Praed states:

When I was your age, young men and women were afraid of each other: there was no good fellowship. Nothing real. Only gallantry copied out of novels, and as vulgar and affected as it could be. Maidenly reserve! gentlemanly chivalry! always saying no when you meant yes! simple purgatory for shy and sincere souls."

And, Shaw seems to indicate that at least some of the conflict between Vivie and her mother are rooted in conventionality. In arguing with her mother, Vivie says, "You attacked me with the conventional authority of a mother: I defended myself with the conventional superiority of a respectable woman."

Shaw again reflects his belief that a conventional role is one filled with deceit in Vivie's parting words to her mother, "Yes: it's better to choose your line and go through with it. If I had been you, mother, I might have done as you did; but I should not have lived one life and believed in another. You are a conventional woman at heart. That is why I am bidding you goodbye now."

Croft's speech on conformity as a way to lure Vivie into marriage provides us with more insight into Shaw's disdain for a conventional society that tolerates and protects abusers:

Believe me, Miss Vivie, the world isn't such a bad place as the croakers make out. As long as you don't fly openly in the face of society, society doesn't ask any inconvenient questions; and it makes precious short work of the cads who do. There are no secrets better kept than the secrets everybody guesses.

In response to Croft's comments, Vivie says, "I hardly find you worth thinking about at all now."

Shaw not only demonstrates his disdain for conventional role models, but he also provides an assessment that this simply isn't realistically obtainable by many women. Through the actions and words of Vivie, Shaw shows that he finds nothing wrong with breaking the rules, providing that it is for a good reason and not simply for self indulgence. Shaw feels that these morals are fine in a perfect society, but since we do not live in one they must be broken occasionally in order to attain a better life, providing that it is done only in moderation. This is the rationalization he uses to defend prostitution as a career option for women.

Summary

Shaw is clearly an advocate of the women who rejected traditional roles in favor of independence and professional fulfillment. The joy in obtaining this goal is very evident in the ending to "Mrs. Warren's profession in which Shaw describes Vivie's manner after establishing a career and breaking with her mother:

The strain on Vivie's face relaxes; her grave expression breaks up into one of joyous content; her breath goes out in a half sob, half laugh of intense relief. She goes buoyantly to her place at the writing table..."

However, in Vivie's pursuit of independence and professional fulfillment, she has shunned love and the romance and beauty of life. Yet, this will not be desirable for most women. It would have been more realistic if Shaw would have allowed a relationship between Vivie and Praed and it's not clear why he didn't Perhaps it was to reinforce that women can be truly independent and do not need the assistance of men. But, more likely, Shaw was not capable of envisioning a world where a woman could participate in both worlds. Thankfully, modern-day feminism has advanced the vision of the independent, professional woman to include concepts of being a good mate and parent.

Bibliography

Goldman, Emma. "The Social Significance of the Modern Drama." International

Society of Political Psychology. 03 May 2003. http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/socsig/warren.html

Lovinger, "Trinity Rep OffersCcrackling 'Mrs. Warren's Profession'" Standard-Times 30

Sept. 1999.

Standard Times Web Site. 03 May 2003. http://www.s-t.com/daily/09-99/09-30-

99/f02ae120.htm>.

Mrs. Warren's Profession." Center for Instructional Technology Development. 03 May http://citd.scar.utoronto.ca/English/ENGB02Y/Shaw.html.

Mrs. Warren's Profession." Free Student Essays. 03 May 2003. http://*****/get_essays/eng-lit/43_1_4.shtml.

Shaw, George Bernard, "Mrs. Warren's Profession." 1894. Authors Directory. 03

May 2003. http://authorsdirectory.com/c/wrpro10.htm.

Shaw, George Bernard, "Mrs. Warren's Profession." 1894. Authors Directory. 03 May 2003. http://authorsdirectory.com/c/wrpro10.htm.

Mrs. Warren's Profession." Center for Instructional Technology Development. 03 May 2003. http://citd.scar.utoronto.ca/English/ENGB02Y/Shaw.html.

Lovinger, "Trinity Rep OffersCcrackling 'Mrs. Warren's Profession'" Standard-Times 30 Sept. 1999. Standard Times Web Site. 03 May 2003. http://www.s-t.com/daily/09-99/09-30-99/f02ae120.htm.

Goldman, Emma. "The Social Significance of the Modern Drama." International Society of Political Psychology. 03 May 2003. http://dwardmac.pitzer.edu/Anarchist_Archives/goldman/socsig/warren.html

Mrs. Warren's Profession." Free Student Essays. 03 May 2003. http://*****/get_essays/eng-lit/43_1_4.shtml.

Mrs. Warren's Profession." Center for Instructional Technology Development. 03 May 2003. http://citd.scar.utoronto.ca/English/ENGB02Y/Shaw.html.

Mrs. Warren's Profession." Free Student Essays. 03 May 2003. http://*****/get_essays/eng-lit/43_1_4.shtml. [END OF PREVIEW]

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