McKensie Holliman English 222 12 November 2014 Section 1 Exploring Different Gender Roles Throughout all of the stories we have read so far, feel the authors have all portrayed some type of gender inequality in the characters or a various type of gender role. Do readers even notice these things? There is three stories that stood out the most when identifying the different gender roles: gender inequality, gender vs. social class, and gender and patriarchy. The short story chosen was, “Dhowli” by Mahasweta Devi.
This tells the story of a woman’s battle with her social class and a consequence she will suffer because she is a oman and an “untouchable”. Marilyn L. Barton States in the Britannica Encyclopedia, “Untouchable, also called Dalit, officially Scheduled Caste, formerly Harijan, in traditional Indian society, the former name for any member of a wide range of low-caste Hindu groups and any person outside the caste system. ” The novel chosen was, “Things Fall Apart”, by Chinua Achebe. This book depicts a story that shows a man who is running away from being like his father but ends up over powering his “masculine” side with more cowardly traits.
This story shows gender patriarchy and how the author llustrates a character named Oko who thinks the only way of being masculine is with violence. The poem I chose was, “I’ll Rise”, by Maya Angelou. This will show the struggle of one woman’s life because of a man’s forceful choice but in the end shows who really is the strong one. Whether these were the authors motives, well will let you decide. The role between men and women is distinctly drafted in, “Dhowli. ” Dhowli is a woman that is born in the lowest social class on the Caste system. She is also a widow, which in the story the author does not fail to belittle her because of this. A widow was not upposed to see her face in the mirror any more, nor wear the shellac bangles, the vermillion between her brows, the nickel anklets. ” (Devi 235) She also had to escape to not be her brother in law’s mistress. Dhowli’s mother states, “Did they want to keep you? Didn’t you insist on coming with me? ” Then Dhowli responds, “Because his elder brother would have taken my vitue there. ” (Devi 233) Just because Dhowli is a widow and she does not have a husband by her side, the author basically says she is not worth anything and without a man she is and has nothing.
She falls in love with a man, Mirsa Boy, ho is in the Brahmin Caste. Dhowli knows she is an untouchable and she has no chance with the Brahmin. Mirsa Boy continues to pursue her, Dhowli willingly gives herself to this man and then she ends up pregnant, he leaves her stranded and she is shunned from the community. This shows how the author illustrates gender inequality, because Dhowli is left taking care of the baby alone and the man, who took part as well, has no repercussions. Does the author believe men should have no consequences? In the novel, Things Fall Apart, a man named, Okonkwho, is living in fear of being like his own stepfather.
Okonkwho has very masculine stereotypes as his occupations are being a: farmer, warrior, clansman, and family provider. He is the ideal of a patriarchy. A. Crossman states that a patriarchy is, “a form of social organization in which the father is the supreme authority in the family, clan, or tribe and descent is reckoned in the male line, with the children belonging to the father’s clan or tribe. ” Okonkwho also treats his wives with violence and dominant powers. “Okonkwho rules his household with a heavy hand. His wives, especially the youngest lived in perpetual fear of his fiery temper, and o did his little children. (Achebe 13) Okonkwho’s son, Nowye, who Okonkwho always saw as weak but it was obvious he was turning like his father. “Novwye knew that it was right to be masculine and to be violent, but somehow he still preferred the stories that his other used to tell, and which she no doubt still told to her young children… That was the kind of story Nowye loved. But he now knew that they were for foolish women and children, and he knew his father wanted him to be strong. ” (Achebe 53-54) This shows that Nowye’s new father, Okonkwho Was teaching him to be iolent and “masculine” like he was.
Hitting a woman is never masculine and this shows how the author was portraying gender patriarchy and showing the man being the more masculine one to be the patriarch. The author chose to put masculine vs. feminism and in this story he makes the women good for stereotypical reasons, as in: cooking, cleaning and housework. At the beginning of the story Okonkwho adopts a son named, Ikemefuna, who accidently kills someone in another mafia. This is against the rules so Ikemefuna has to be killed, when he is in the middle of getting attacked he eaches out for Oko but Oko does not want to look weak in front of his tribe.
So he stabs Ikemefuna as well. This is an example of gender and social class because Ike stayed with Oko’s family for 3 years and so Oko would look masculine and strong in front of his own tribe he killed someone that he was suppose to care about. In the poem, “I’ll Rise” by Maya Angelou she tells about how she is going to rise above something that is trying to bring her down. This poem is an example of gender and racial discrimination but this author wants the reader to know who has the upper hand, and that is the woman.
Maya Angelou, the author, has been through a lot of gender discrimination because she is a woman, and racial discrimination, because she is an African American. In this poem she states, “Just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, Just like hopes springing high, Still I’ll Rise. ” (Angelou) She is saying that the moon and sun always rises no matter what happens so that is what she is going to do too. Angelou also states, “Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise, that I dance like I’ve got diamonds at the meeting Of my thighs? ‘ In Maya’s poem she States, “Does my assiness upset you?
Do you want to see me broken? Does my sexiness offend you? ” By saying these statements Maya is taking it to a personal level and showing that she is a woman and you should never downgrade her or any woman. She is speaking to men when says, “Do you want to see me broken? ” This is an example of her defending the gender discrimination that she has been going through and she is not standing for gender inequality any longer. She is expressing the sexuality of being a woman and saying that she is proud of it and does that make you upset or come as a surprise to a man.
Maya Angelou, the author, spoke out to woman and in hope they would stick up for themselves and know that no matter what happens you should still “rise” above the situation. In all of these stories they show some examples of how men and women are different and men are always made out to look like the tough, strong, ones and women are always the weak ones that cannot seem to live without a man. Gender roles are always experimented by the author and it took just recently for me to start noticing that these stories really included stereotypes for men and women.
Throughout this class we ave read a lot of literature and stories and I never noticed how often the authors involve different gender roles. Authors should not be speaking from the gender stereotypes that are known all across the world. Women and men are two different people and not every woman is the same and not every man is the same. With these three stories you can see the different examples of gender discrimination, gender inequality, and gender vs. social class. It is really interesting to see the social classes in India and how they can affect your gender and your future on life.
The authors chose to make men look “stronger” when really when reading the story felt like they were more weak than anything. As read stories and novels in the future I know these gender roles will stand out to me now because there is a reason the author perceives a character or gender in a certain way. Works Cited Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. New York: Anchor, 1994. Print. Barton, Marilyn L. “Sign Up for updates Grameen Foundation I Connecting the World’s Poor to Their Potential. ” Sign Up for Updates I Grameen Foundation Connecting the World’s Poor to Their Potential.
N. p. , n. d. Web. 12 Nou 2014. Crossman, A. (2013). Feminist Theory. Retrieved from http://sociology. about. com/od/Sociological-Theory/a/Feminist- Theory. htm Napierkowski, Marie Rose. , and Mary K. Ruby. “I’ll Rise by Maya Angelou. ” Poetry for Students: Presenting Analysis, Context and Criticism on Commonly Studied Poetry. Detroit, MI: Gale Research, 1998. N. pag. Print. Solomon, Barbara H. “Dhowli by Mahasweta Devi. ” Other Voices, Other Vistas: Short Stories from Africa, China, India, Japan, and Latin America. New York, NY, U. S. A. : Signet Classic, 2002. N. pag. print.