Summarize the concern in both nineteenth-century Europe and India about women reading novels. What does this suggest about how women were viewed?
The concern in both nineteenth-century Europe and India about women reading novels bore more or less similar fears. Because they often had to live in the confines of homes. Novels provided them a window to the outer world. They were seen as easily corruptible and an imaginary world that the novel provided was seen as a dangerous opening for the imaginations of its readers.
(i) Europe: Women in the 19th century Europe were very progressive. They began reading and writing novels. They drew upon their experience, wrote about family life and earned public recognition. But this change in the world of women-folk was not liked by many people. They feared that women would be in disorder.
(ii) India: In India too several men were suspicious of women writing novels or reading them. It was felt that women who read novels would leave their domestic environments and aspire to be part of the outside world—the male domain. They thought that novels would corrupt the people, especially women and children. But this did not stop women from reading or writing novels.
We can now infer that women in general were discouraged from reading novels. They were viewed as wives and mothers who had a lot of work to do with in the four walls of their homes. They must devote their time to the welfare of their family. Their role was limited to homes and hearth. This shows the biased attitude about women.