Sunday, 31 January 2016

Operation of Traditional Gender Roles - Chapter 8

Traditional gender roles
Ma, Pa,Mary all fit into specific gender roles
Laura challenges it

"For the women who travelled to the western territories in the nineteenth century, the journey brought sharp dislocations. Traditional work patterns were daily overturned with women called upon to do what they had long regarded as "mens' work." The consequence was that gender role, class orientation, even self-evaluation, became troubled areas to many women"Lillian Schlissel, Women's diaries on the Frontier

Pa is the man of the house - protects the family from danger and takes care of them
Patriarchal society - does not want help from the women - self reliant
Resourceful - Collects materials to build the house/ timber for the door and gifts for the family
Jobs/ tasks require strength and can be dangerous - asserts masculinity and typical gender roles
Made sure that the wolves had disappeared

Ma and Mary conform to the typical gender roles associated with women
Prefer to stay at home doing the chores e.g looking after the children, cooking and cleaning
They do not interfere with what Pa is doing therefore knows what is expected of her and does not challenge this
Mary and Ma do the domestic chores and housework whilst Pa attends to the heavy, more challenging manly jobs
"Laura helped Pa make the door. Mary watched" Shows the contrasting characters of Laura and Mary

Laura challenges the typical gender roles - supports Schissel
She helps Pa make the door - this is seen as a mans job so would not typically be done by a female
Her input was not huge - just passing the tools to Pa - shows that she has more masculine traits than feminine ones
She has an inquisitive mind - interested in new things and exploring- wants to help her father with more challenging and adventurous tasks- in this chapter building doors and latches to keep the horses and the family safe
However Laura sometimes conforms to her gender roles "Laura helped wash the dishes and make the beds, but that day Mary minded the baby"
Therefore whilst Laura is helping Pa. Mary is looking after the children so is doing what is expected of her

This chapter exemplifies the contrast between Mary and Laura
Mary follows the rules so remains very much in the realms of gender roles
Laura is more of a free spirit- adventurous- challenges the stereotypical gender roles of women
Sitting down vs exploration of surroundings

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