Gender roles and Marriage - Thesis Example

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Gender roles and Marriage

While sex refers to the biological classification into male and female categories, gender indicates social classification of the masculine and feminine attributes. On the other hand identity depends on ones self realization about his or her sexual category. In the paper two stories have been taken up for study – ‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ by James Thurber and ‘The Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin. In the former work, Mr. Mitty tries to build his masculine identity through his regular daydreams and in the second work, Mrs. Mallard tries to gain freedom from the repressive bond of marriage and a kind of sexual freedom is experienced after she hears the news of her husband’s death. In fact both these characters of opposite gender tries to gain freedom in their own ways. Mr. Walter Mitty attempts to gain freedom from the influence of his dominating wife who apparently always has the last word. The institution of marriage can be repressive owing to the influence of gender roles.
‘The Story of An Hour’ by the American writer Kate Chopin talks about the central character Mrs. Mallard’s reaction and mental transformation on hearing the news of her husband’s death and the mix of emotions experienced by the frail woman. Widowhood does cause some sorrow but within minutes it brings forth a new opportunity and light to the journey of life. The transformation in thoughts and a feeling of some kind of freedom gradually replaces the initial feeling of loss. In this case the freedom enjoyed within shows how repressive the marriage could be. This is not really written to criticize the character of Mr. Mallard as a repressive husband but through the reactions of his wife, it mocks this supposedly happy union. ...
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A gender role is usually decided by the society specifically within families. For instance, in the nineteenth century women were confined essentially to the household chores and the society as well as the household was dominated by the patriarchal structure. …
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