Gender Roles In The Good Anna

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In The Good Anna, Stein’s characters do not work within a set of cultural gender roles in order to subvert them, but challenge them directly by being independent, outspoken, and strong willed. However, while these characters are able to personally reject gender roles and expectations of femininity, many characters impose those gender roles on other female characters. This control and implementation of gender roles onto other characters is most evident in Anna, who often tries to control the actions of the other women in the text. This fact is immediately evident in her relationship with Miss Mathilda, whom she criticizes for wasting money on antiques instead of spending that money on her appearance. Anna’s frustration with Miss Mathilda’s appearance is first apparent in an argument they …show more content…
However, both texts convey the difficulties in challenging gender norms and show how outside forces make the rejection of gender expectations more difficult. In Gertrude Stein’s The Good Anna, this tension exists within the protagonist herself, who is able to personally reject gender roles and traditional expectations of femininity. However, in enforcing those gender roles onto the other women in the text, Anna is not fully able to reject the concept of these expectations. That similar tension exists in Sui Sin Far’s Mrs. Spring Fragrance, in which both Mr. and Mrs. Spring Fragrance are able to subvert notions of traditional Chinese gender roles. However, both characters work within that set of gender roles in order to subvert them, rather than reject them in whole. Thus, while both texts ultimately explore different intersection of gender identity, and how challenging gender norms can work in different communities and relationships, both texts are able to convey the complications of and tensions that occur when challenging gender

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