the short story project


The Movement

As she watched life flow by her, Joanne Walsh felt a sense of abandonment. She had never belonged, and through the window, washing the dishes, she felt disconnected by her lack of hope. What was left for her? Ironically, the pots clanged to the glasses. A fatal mistake to mix them, as oil never went well with water. Water was always a second-hand element. Joanne Walsh was uneducated, not being allowed to follow, to progress in an educational system professing opportunities. This fact made a big impact on how she got treated and how she was a part of this man’s world.

One day, while running errands, Joanne had come across a wondrous lady. She looked at the newspaper, studying the job section. Turned out, the lady was looking for a housekeeper. Joanne thought, “Maybe this could be a new beginning. I could finally get a job.” She went up to the woman and introduced herself. Her name was Nellie McClung, and she was so excited that she immediately employed Joanne and agreed that she would be work a couple hours a week to clean her house. As time went by, both women got to know each other and slowly became friends. “Nellie is a busy lady,” was a perpetual thought for Joanne. During the past few weeks, she always had meetings with other women, which meant she spent less time with Joanne. “The meetings are very important,” Nellie would say, “they are about  women suffrage in Manitoba.” Joanne hoped to one day be part of their discussions, but Nellie never gave her the opportunity to understand the intricacies of the movement. She truly felt like an outcast, disconnected from her friend, disillusioned by the way she was treated. She felt uneducated and poorly about herself, however, she was determined to help, no matter what.

The movement became an important topic of conversation in Manitoba. Signs for rights and protests were everywhere and Joanne finally understood what Nellie and the other women were trying to accomplish. She wanted to help, even though she was not as educated as others. She was determined to make it happen.

Unfortunately, Nellie never encouraged the idea of letting Joanne help. She wanted the crowd, the judges and the prime minister to have a positive impression of those women, who were representing the movement. Joanne was not the most knowledgeable woman and had struggled with this issue since she was young. She was always told that women were to cook, to clean, and to take care of their families. Nellie, on the other hand, was very hard-headed and determined to ensure the movement’s birth, no matter the consequences. She was a woman in the higher echelons, who had a job, unlike many others.

From the outside, Joanne got to witness how difficult those ladies had fought for all women in  Manitoba. She was a character playing behind the scenes of Nellie’s life. From her decision making to campaigns for the liberal party so women could vote. She had also seen her write the play which focused on the roles of women and men in society. The movement finally took flight and Joanne still felt as though she wasn’t a part of it. She did not know what to do if the movement were to succeed and changes happened. She thought to herself,  “what will my future be like? Will I live a good life?”

Later on that week, the newspaper covered a story about Nellie and the other women. The headline explained, “Women of the province are given the vote.” They did it! She was ecstatic over the news but completely scared for her future. She did not know what the future could hold for her. Joanne read the article to herself. The article read: “Nellie’s satire took over Manitoba and put smiles and laughter on its audience.” Her play helped sway the liberal party into allowing women to vote. The beginning of the end to women suffrage in Manitoba.

In the following week, Joanne noticed how much attention Nellie and the others were getting. She realized how rich women were still more prioritized. Women finally had the right to vote, go to school, and further their education, but she still was not satisfied. The women who had come up with the movement had a more desirable life. They had a good job which made it clear that they could continue the movement and influence others to do the same.

In 1919, the right to vote for women was extended to all of Canada. On the other hand, Joanne still felt as if she was a pot of oil mixed with water. She felt no connection with those women. She soon realized that she was not the only one to feel as she did. Joanne decided to show how important these women were and how they could achieve so much more than what people believed they would.

Unfortunately, Joanne never pursued her ultimate goal to make other lower class women feel important. She no longer spoke to Nellie but continued to follow the movement and her other achievements to this day.

At this moment yet again, Joanne washed the dishes at home. Her sponge is covered in oil from the pots and pans, as she rubbed the sponge against the dishes she realized that it only made it worse. Suddenly, her husband reminded her that there were more plates on the table to be picked up and washed. Joanne thought to herself, “Are things ever going to change for me?”.



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