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Dame Care   By: (1857-1928)

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"Dame Care" by Hermann Sudermann is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged novel that sheds light on the struggles and inequalities faced by women in early 20th-century society. Sudermann masterfully weaves a tale that explores themes of societal expectations, personal freedom, and the pursuit of happiness.

The story revolves around the character of Dame Care, a strong-willed woman who finds herself trapped in a suffocating marriage. As the narrative unfolds, Sudermann takes us on a journey through her emotional turmoil, showcasing the societal pressures and gender roles that prevent her from living a fulfilling life. Through vivid imagery and well-developed characters, the author paints a poignant portrait of the limited options available to women during this time period.

One of the novel's greatest strengths lies in Sudermann's ability to capture the complex emotions and internal struggles of Dame Care. Her desire for personal agency and autonomy is palpable throughout the story, and readers cannot help but feel a deep sense of empathy and sympathy for her predicament. Sudermann's prose is poignant, evocative, and brimming with raw emotions, allowing readers to connect with the characters on a profoundly human level.

Additionally, Sudermann's portrayal of the societal norms and expectations of the early 20th century adds another layer of depth to the novel. He skillfully dissects the gender roles and double standards that governed women's lives, highlighting the inherent injustice and inequality embedded within the social structure. This critique of the status quo serves as a powerful indictment of a society that stifles individuality and denies women the opportunity for self-fulfillment.

While "Dame Care" offers a gripping and thought-provoking narrative, it does suffer from a slow pacing at times. Some sections may appear overly detailed, which can detract from the overall momentum of the story. However, this minor flaw should not overshadow the novel's strengths, as Sudermann's vivid descriptions and insightful observations make up for this occasional drawback.

In conclusion, "Dame Care" is a compelling and significant literary work that offers a poignant exploration of gender roles, societal expectations, and the constraints placed upon individuals. Sudermann's masterful storytelling and compassionate portrayal of his characters make this novel a must-read for anyone interested in the social dynamics of early 20th-century society. Although the pacing may falter in some instances, the overall impact and relevance of the novel remain undeniably powerful.

First Page:





Just when Meyerhofer's estate was to be sold by auction, his third son Paul was born.

That was a hard time indeed.

Frau Elsbeth, with her haggard face and melancholy smile, lay in her big four post bed, with the cradle of the new born child near her, and listened to every noise that reached her in her sad sickroom from the yard and the house.

At each suspicious sound she started up, and each time, when a strange man's voice was heard, or a vehicle came driving along with a rolling sound, she asked, clinging with great anxiety to the bedposts:

"Has it come to the worst? Has it come to the worst?"

Nobody answered her. The doctor had given strict orders to keep every excitement from her, but little he thought, good man, that this constant suspense would torment her a thousand times more than the most terrible certainty.

One morning, the fifth day after her child's birth, she heard her husband, whom she had scarcely seen during this trying time, pacing up and down in the next room, swearing and sighing. She could only understand one word, only one; that he repeated over and over again: the word "Homeless."

Then she knew. It had come to the worst.

She put her feeble hand on the little head of the new born child, who with his little serious face was quietly dozing, hid her face in her pillow and wept... Continue reading book >>

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