Gender Construction In Kaffir Boy

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Understanding of Gender Construction in Kaffir Boy:
What is it like to live in a ghetto but trying to outlive poverty? The narrator Mark tells about his true story in the book Kaffir Boy. Born and raised in South Africa, Mark was a young and innocent boy when he first encountered severe racial conflicts between white and black. As a child, he had to watch white police took away his father along with many other black men and beat them up in the street and put them into jail. Seeing this chaotic society, Mark’s mother insisted to put him to school and she thought it was the only way for Mark to grow out of poverty and out of the racist society. Even though Mark’s father strongly opposed the idea of school, she insisted and promised Mark that
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According to Carpenter, “our lives are steeped in distinctions based on gender, and these distinctions have a real, demonstrable impact on the way people live and interact” (Carpenter 89). Human beings have all sorts of stereotypes, and these stereotypes largely shape our lives and tell us what we should do or how we should behave. For example, women are always related to the characteristics such as timid, gentle, dependent and submissive whereas men are expected to be brave, tough, active and aggressive. Sometimes these stereotypes are true, but they should not restrain different behaviors of different individual. Unfortunately, books – the fundamental provider of knowledge, actually “have long served as one of the primary vehicles for the communication of gender roles” (Carpenter 91). While many people expect books to be less stereotyped, they actually encourage the biased gender …show more content…
When Mark came back from school, he saw his father beating up his mother. Mark asked his mother why she was beaten up by his father. He insisted on knowing the truth and his mother admitted that his father did not want him to go to school. She told Mark that his father claimed “‘there are better things for you to work for,’ he said. ‘Besides, I don’t want you to work. How would I look to other men if you, a woman I owned, were to start working?’ When I asked him why shouldn’t I take you to school, seeing that you were now of age, he replied that he doesn’t believe in schools” (Mathabane 132). Mark’s still showed how he was the dominant figure in the family. He did not want Mark to go to school and he did not want his wife to work, either. Instead of putting the mother in an equal position, he insisted that she was “a woman I owned” (Mathabane 132). Mathabane showed the readers how gender identities are unambiguous – and always are in literature (Carpenter 104). Mark’s father did not want his wife to work also because he felt other men would look down on him. It was as if he was not powerful enough that he would allow his wife to build masculinity in the family by working (Carpenter 104). In Mark’s family, the father do not want to see an ambiguity of the gender. He appreciated the idea

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