Gender Roles and Marriage

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 370
  • Published : March 24, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
The representation of gender roles and marriage has always been a controversial issue. However, much can be learned about unhappy marriages when examining the roles of both females and males within the marriage. The examination of gender roles and marriage are seen through the following short stories The Story of an Hour, The Necklace, and Country Lovers, along with scholarly articles based on gender role and marriage. Evaluation of these literary works shows quite clearly that social and economic class affects choice in marriage.

Gardiner’s County Lovers presents its fairly clear theme right from the beginning of the story. Yes, there is a theme of race, but if you look even deeper you can see the underlying idea of marriage and gender roles. There is a love between two people but it is forbidden due them being a part of two separate classes. In the marriage that takes place between Njabulo and Thebedi there is an absence of love. Thebedi agrees to marry Njabulo because it is what is expected of her, but this does not constitute what many see as a proper marriage.

There are some prevalent gender roles expressed in this story. There is are not many females described in the story other than Thebedi, but those who are discussed always have the role of being silent, and that of a domestic worker. Thebedi is often described as being the primary care giver of her children, whereas Njabulo and Paulus are often described as holding careers outside the home. The gender roles in this story are very stereotypical. Thebedi is portrayed as being weak and helpless and she stands outside her hut while Paulus is alone with the child. She knowingly left her child alone with Paulus after he strongly expressed his dislike of the situation of her having his child. The author portrays her as being helpless and innocent but the death of her child could have been prevented if she wanted it. The point of view of this story is that of a third-person. The narrator was not involved as a character in the story, which made it harder to get involved in the story emotionally. There was little connection to the inner thoughts of Thebedi and Paulus. This made theory very limited, in that the narrator knew of the events but not of their experiences. This objective view could have been improved by connecting the reader more to the thoughts and feelings of Paulus, Thebedi and Njabulo. In the end of the, Njabulo decides to stay with his wife and continue living as a family with their new born child. There is little said about how he felt about the whole situation, when in fact the decision he made was a very big one, but would have taken a lot of thought and contradictory feelings.

The tone reflected by the author was very somber and solemn. From the begging there was much negatively expressed towards the thoughts of love and marriage. There is a verbal ironic one use when all evidence persuades the reader to think that Thebedi and Paulus will be in trouble or their actions, but in the end their relationship was not acknowledged and they are both able to walk away and live their lives freely. The language used by the author also suggests gender inequality. As Thebedi is 18 years old and Njabulo is 19, Thebedi is still being called a “girl” and Njubulo is considered a “man”.

Within the story The Necklace the theme of changing gender roles within the married couples is prevalent. Madame Loisel did not marry for love, but rather married because it was expected of her. She married a man who worked in the Ministry of Education and had little money. Mr. Loisel, however, did marry for love and was very satisfied with their life together. Mathilde Loisel did not respect her husband due to him not making as much money as she would like, and she is portrayed as always wanting more. Her husband tGries hard to do anything to please her and makes sacrifices to keep her happy. Mathilde uses her innocence to gain sympathy, which leads to her getting the...
tracking img