SparkNotes Blog

The 7 Best Times Men Were Terrified of Women in Classic Literature

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“Woman does a thing, society freaks out” is one of my favorite things that can happen in a book. Obviously “villains monologuing unnecessarily” is my second-favorite thing, and it’s a close second, but terrifying ladies striking fear into the hearts of men will always win with me. (My third-favorite is “dog saves the day,” but that’s a different article entirely.)

I’m particularly fond of this trope when it happens in classic literature. That’s because, more often than not, the women are doing things that by today’s standards would be quite normal—like laughing loudly or driving a car or taking an unchaperoned promenade through a garden with a handsome cad.

So, in the spirit of that, please enjoy the following 7 instances of women being normal while the men run screaming for the hills.