Gender Roles : The Good Anna Essay

1051 Words Dec 18th, 2015 null Page
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 have over money, when Anna exclaims, “And you gave all that money out for that, when you need a dress to go out in so bad,” (Stein 14). In asking Miss Mathilda to prioritize her outer appearance over other aesthetic pleasure (ie. paintings, antiques, and other pieces of home decor), Anna is implicitly asking Miss Mathilda to conform to the gendered expectation that she take more care of her appearance since she is a woman. While this is the first occurrence of Anna’s explicit scorn of Miss Mathilda’s dressing habits, it certainly is not the only occurrence. Instead, Anna’s controlling attitude to Miss Mathilda 's presentation of femininity comes up multiple times, to the point where it seems…

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