Gender Roles In Beverly Cleary's Beezus And Ramona?

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After just reading until the second page of "Beezus and Ramona," I knew that I would be focusing on the presence of gender norms Beverly Cleary tries to prove wrong, but also on those that she reinforces. As a women 's and gender studies minor, I am already hyperaware of the role gender plays in everyday life, so it is neat to see what views Cleary had on gender during a time when society was starting to make the transition to accepting a more autonomous woman. And "Beezus and Ramona" shows exactly that: a transitioning from one way women and girls were taught to behave by society (Beezus) to the new, more relaxed way (Ramona). In turn, Cleary depicts the different views of girlhood the changing time had as well as the way in which childhood …show more content…
I took note of this in my notebook, as well as Bezzus ' negative reaction to having to "foolishly" mimic machinery sounds when reading the book to Ramona (p.13). Then, on the next page came the reinforcement of gender roles, "Girls weren 't supposed to like machinery. Why couldn 't she like something quiet, like 'Peter Rabbit? '" This societal assumption that girls should be quiet and like "girly" things is similar to the way that Johnny Gruelle depicted girlhood in "Raggedy Ann." What 's interesting in "Ramona and Beezus," though, is that there is a polar opposite depiction of girlhood that, while deemed annoying and inappropriate at times, is actually looked up to by Ramona in certain situations, like on page 41 when she wishes she had the imagination that Ramona has. Maybe Cleary is giving girls a second option of the proper way to act by presenting a character, Ramona, who experiences the world to the …show more content…
Beezus can be compared to Marcella (when playing with her dolls), as both appear to follow the model of "A Child as a Miniature Adult." Both girls take on adult responsibilities, or the roles that women were expected to play. Beezus is often put in charge of Ramona. She reads to her younger sister, tries to teach her how to write, takes her to the library, and has to make sure she is doing the right thing by playing outside during art class. Beezus also years to be just like her aunt (p.8). Similarly, Marcella cares for her dolls by dressing, washing and feeding them. Ramona, on the other hand, follows the more modern model of childhood, the "Developing Child." Adults understand that she will be immature at times because she is slowly learning to become an adult. She is not really criticized by the adults she encounters, instead, they look at her as a child who is still learning about life. Yet again, this difference of childhood expectations shows Cleary 's transition from the older model of childhood to the more current model

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