Gender Construction In Kaffir Boy

Decent Essays
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
…show more content…
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

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    Lucy’s demanding father, similar to William, humiliated Lucy’s obedient mother. Possibly Lucy feared the same conclusion as what happened to her mother, therefore, she refused to succumb to her husband’s authority. Much of the expectations society held women accountable to were unfair and reflected a belief of inferiority, however, Lucy challenged that notion. Lucy was taught throughout her childhood on proper household management, it was only right that she exercised her learnings in her household, yet her husband refused to, even though many other wives were. Although Lucy’s extravagance challenged William’s command, in the end she submitted to his will (Treckel).…

    • 1076 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The impact is very strong it can lead to husband abandoning the marriage, looking for a second wife or divorce if the wife is not willing to change or to submit to her husband. The sequence was an everyday thing because she could not spread the bed, cook for the husband of which they are daily chores. The wife was not being submissive and she wanted equal rights with her husband forgetting that the husband is the head of the house. The parents failed to catch her young. The bible says train up a child the way he should go so that when she is old she will not depart from it.…

    • 800 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    While he blames Nora for her ignorance, he also blames her father for neglecting to educate his daughter in religion, an area that middle class women were expected to immerse themselves in. Without religion, Torvald believes Nora has gone astray. When Krogstad arrives, Torvald orders Nora to take off her shawl to make herself look more appeasing to a male’s eye. He does not hesitate to objectify his wife in order to protect his position in society. Within the family unit,…

    • 1283 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    When I found out that I was pregnant with Emma he was very negative saying that I should get an abortion or an adoption because he wasn’t ready. He also broke up with me saying that he was going to break up with me before all this happened but he didn’t want to hurt my feelings so. He said that he would go to all my appointments but only ended up going to about five of the many I had. Ever since my daughter was born it has been nothing but trouble for me when it comes to him and his family. His family keeps pestering me to let them see her but I don’t want her around someone that didn’t even want her in the first place.…

    • 1114 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Coldwater Film Analysis

    • 786 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Brad was upset and did not take it well because he and his mother’s boyfriend do not get along. We don’t know whether Brad’s mother was fed up with Brad’s behavior and truly didn’t know how to help her son on her own. Or if it was easier to send him away and have others deal with him. Brad’s mother should have looked into the facility, she should have researched, read reviews and testimonies to know what her son would be going through. Bootcamps and rehabilitation centers are made to be tough and shape teens into becoming model citizens however a parent considering sending their child away needs to be sure it is truly for their child’s best…

    • 786 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    He father is will be part or come to his son wedding because he is marriage someone different than who he want him to. He shows that he didn’t like her by ripping their photo. “I decided just to cut off your wife and send it back to you because I have nothing to do with her.” (Achebe 192). He father did not like that he went to go find himself a wife when he was finding him one (Achebe 190). His father would not see him and only wrote a letter to him if he was telling him that he could not come visit (Achebe 192).…

    • 773 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    These are the words that Sara Smolinsky’s father says to her after finding out that she has rejected yet another “nice” man. Her wanting an occupation and a room for herself is what he considers “lawless”(p204). Sara’s father also tried to make her stay in the land that he occupied, but unlike Alexandra’s father he does not trust her to make her own decisions. The reason Alexandra stays with her family is because John Bergson trusts her judgement, and wants her to make smart decisions for the family’s land. Reb Smolinsky wants Sara to stay as an exercise of his control, and because he does not trust Sara’s head, and does not want her to make decisions for herself.…

    • 924 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    As far as I am concerned, the distance between people in Victorian era was much more emphasized than the movie depicted. Firstly, Miss Potter’s parents warned their children to keep distance from peasants’ children since they did not expect their sons and daughters get dirt from lower-class children’s hands. That was not the only case. As depicted in the film, it was normally unacceptable for two people of different social class to tight a knot. Particularly, Beatrix Potter’s parents disapproved her offer of marrying Mr. Warne due to the fact that he was beneath and the marriage would humiliate Potter’s family traditional values.…

    • 723 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Also, I internalized my problems so that I do not explode on others and get called my father. My father would always tell me that I was like my mother and my mother would tell me that I was like my father and I hated that they could not see me and I questioned who I was as a person. I was afraid that no one would love me for being me, if I even knew who she was. What if I became my father or what if I was weak like my…

    • 1487 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Despite her good intentions, this again shows that she does not understand the veterans' thoughts at all, simply because she was not exposed to the same horrors. All Krebs' parents’ want is for him to 'act like a normal person'. This again reinforces our assertion about the vast differences in the viewpoint of the 2 sects of people. Instead of actually sitting down and listening to her son's truth, Krebs mother tried to force him to adapt to her viewpoints. This can also be seen when she tries to manipulate him by saying "I'm your mother," she said.…

    • 1479 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays