“Sequel to Love” is a story written by Meridel Le Sueur in 1930. It deals with the problems of a 15-year-old girl named Margaret, who has just had a child but has been placed in a mental asylum and will be released only when she agrees to be sterilized. In this essay, I am going to compare Margaret’s story with the contemporary situation in the Western countries.Firstly, I will discuss Margaret’s life and an adolescent’s life nowadays (the points in which their lives differ and why education is a main issue in this story). Secondly, I will analyse the period in which both of them live (the main characteristics of each one, but also the economic, social, and religious differences). Thirdly, I will compare the concept of love (how love and pleasure differ fromone another). After this, I will take into account the desires, values, and thoughts of each character (how society and religion influence them) when referring to pregnancy. Finally, I will explain the consequences in each case and how people’s minds have changed in less than a century.
There are some differences between Margaret, the character of “Sequel to Love”, and an adolescent of the21st century. Margaret is a 15-year-old girl. She works in a five and ten shop but suddenly finds herself without this job. She seems to be uneducated when she argues, for example, that pleasure will disappear of her life if she is sterilized; she states this as follows: “Now they want to sterilize us so we won’t have that”.
It could be said that the age is not an important factor when talkingabout pregnancy, but it is. In the beginning of the 20th century, it was common that girls were pregnant at this age because they also got married younger. However, in the 21st century (in Western countries), this is not the case anymore. The majority of women become mothers after the age of twenty-five, and this is mainly caused because of a longer education and the search for a good job andstability in life. Nevertheless, there are still some cases of adolescent pregnancy. In this case, it is not a question of education but that of carelessness. They have a great deal of contraceptives in the market but, sometimes, they “forget” to use them. Teenagers are better educated, therefore they know about the risks of having unsafe sex.
Another of the main differences between Margaret and anadolescent is the need of work. Margaret needs to work because it was not a good economic period, and moreover, children had to give an amount of money at home in order to help the family in an economic way. However, 21st century adolescents do not need to work. Their parents provide them with all the things that they need but also, the ones that they just desire. They do not have the necessity tocare about money, and what is worse, they do not value what working and having money imply.
Margaret’s story is set around the 1930s but we have to take into consideration some of the events that took place before this period. The American population is considered a clear capitalist society. It had become more democratic and less oppressive. The Great Depression took place, a period of historywhen people were completely poor. The social services were not really developed, which means that they were not really good. Most of them were private and the public ones did not include abortion as part of them. Abortion was not known as well as it is nowadays, it was a taboo issue. Contraceptives existed but they were not in people’s lives if it was not a case of health. The society was not asdemocratic as it is nowadays, therefore all these themes were not treated in the same way.
The meaning of love and pleasure has not changed through the century but the concepts are seen in a very different way. In Margaret’s period, sexual pleasure was forbidden, not because people could not have pleasure but because they practised sex just to reproduce. Religion was very important in that...