A Woman Rebels (1936) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • The story revolves around Pamela, as a woman in late-1800's England who has no intention of marriage and wishes to be her own person. After a great deal of difficulty in finding a job, she finally lands a position at a "woman's" magazine, which covered topics such as sewing and cooking. After the editor takes sick, she moves the magazine into discussing issues of gender equality, child labor, medical care, and finding a job. She then finds herself as the unexpected leader of a movement. After an unexpected event, she is also faced with raising a child without a father, which people at that time thought was scandalous.

  • In Victorian England, Pamela Thistlewaite bucks societal notions of what it means to be a young woman, much to the exasperation of her strict father, Judge Byron Thistlewaite. The Judge believes, as do most in his generation in this society, that females are inferior to males, and should learn to do only things that will serve the men in their lives. Pamela, a feminist, vows to herself that if she ever were to become a parent, she would be nothing like her father, and that she would be open and honest with her children. What the Judge decides to do to deal with both his daughters, the other being more subservient Flora Anne who feels torn being following the word of her father or her sister, is to marry each of them off to a man to which he approves. The Judge does approve Flora Anne's choice, naval officer Lieutenant Alan Freeland, the marriage to take place immediately if only to accommodate his military service. Pamela secretly starts to see a young man named Lord Gerald Gaythorne, the two who fall in love. Out of circumstance having nothing to do with the Judge however, a marriage between the two will not happen. For various reasons including having someone to commiserate with and because Flora Anne is pregnant, Pamela decides to take an extended vacation to Italy where the Freelands now live. By the end of Pamela's close to year long stay in Italy with her sister, she obliges Flora Anne's request, made due to the circumstances, to take her daughter, also named Flora, with her to raise her back in England. Unmarried with a child to care for, Pamela decides not to move back with her father, but live independently in London. Finding work is difficult as most employers are unwilling to hire a woman. However, she manages to negotiate a job working at a small women's weekly magazine, the type of publication which advanced the stereotype of the subservient woman she so abhorred. Based on the plight of a young woman who visits the magazine office, Pamela seizes on an opportunity to transform the magazine into one that advances her feminist views. Through this period of her life, Pamela falls in love with British diplomat Thomas Lane, a friend of her brother-in-law. Thomas wants to marry Pamela, who will not do so only because she is keeping a secret related to Flora. The situation gets more complex when Pamela becomes reacquainted with Lord Gaythorne.



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