Cocksure Women and Hensure Men

Lawrence's "Cocksure Women and Hensure Men" is an argumentative essay which centers round the issue of 'feminism'. The essayist offers an analogy of hen in order to support his claim which he makes throughout the essay.


David Herbert Lawrence



This analogy clearly shows the perspective towards the so called modern women who pretend to overtake the roles of males, which sounds quite unnatural even unpractical for him. In fact, this essay was written in 1920s in response to the women’s rights movement, when the movement was at its climax. Fundamentally the movement was initiated with the view to provide women about the right to vote, which had been the major political concern of that time. As an anti-feminist Lawrence has vehemently opposed over the proposal thinking that women should be given a superior statues in the society.

This essay formally begins with classification of women into two broad categories demure and dauntless that respectively ensure two distinct aspects. The first category defines the type of women who accept entire social, political and cultural norms and values of the society as a woman had to do in general. These types  of women often expects some sort of protection from their husband in various social circumstances. Whereas the women in the second category are just vice-versa. By dauntless women he means, the type of woman who often ventures to proceed beyond entire social ties or restrictions. They often tend to prove themselves more superior to the males in every respect. To clarify his notion, Lawerence has illustrated an analogy of the farmyard to sequel the human farmyard. A hen has a duty to lay eggs and hatch them to produce more chickens and look after them properly and the cock to provide them guidelines and protection from the possible attack from their enemies. Likewise a cock gives ‘cock a doodle do’ to inform the time and activities naturally. But the process has been quite reverse coming to the modern time. The hens in the modern time deviated from their duty, instead they make their feeble attempt to play the role of the cock which remains quite unnatural even unusual. If women are basically henny, and if they are actually behaving in a cocksure manner, then of course it is only natural that they must be unhappy since they are behaving unnaturally. The women instead of laying an egg, they have laid a vote, or an empty ink bottle, or some other absolutely unhatchable object, which means nothing to them.

Overall the essay remains a document which vehemently opposes the so called feminist movement that has led women to the path of confusion and absurdity. He is of the opinion that a woman should be always hensure and a man should be always cocksure handling their duties accordingly. The persuasiveness of this essay depends mainly on the power of analogy used by Lawrence. The tactful and vivid description of hen and chicken has generated fun and humor to the readers. Analyzing the analogy in a deeper level, it clearly depicts the essayist’s major standpoint which he makes against feminism.

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