Gender Roles: Then and Now Essay

1445 Words 6 Pages
Indisputably, roles and characteristics of opposite genders have been ubiquitous, since historical evidence proves so – dating back to when the practice of oral tradition was favored over written language. This historical evidence is especially apparent in literature from previous time periods. In these works of literature, men and women often have very different social and economic positions within society. Particular duties, or tasks, are practiced depending on the gender of these individuals. However, in the advancing world we are currently living in, these duties are beginning to intertwine in an effort to allow equal rights amongst opposite genders. This effort to break the sexist barrier, which encompasses our world, has already …show more content…
Patriarchal literature does a great job of providing conflict, as there is an obvious contrast between the two genders involved: masculine and feminine. Masculinity is revered for its bravery, solidity, and domination. These three characteristics allow men to maintain a positive and influential manner, while women on the other hand stereotypically lack the positive attributes associated with masculinity. Women are perceived as emotional beings with submissive behavior in relation to men. These behaviors are most likely the reason why men are more socially, economically, and politically involved as opposed to women. “Hills Like White Elephants” and “A&P” make great use of the masculine and feminine stereotypes that we are all so familiar with. Dominance over the female characters is apparent throughout both literary works.
Although not blatantly stated, an abortion is the central theme between the American and Jig in “Hills Like White Elephants.” The American offers constant reassurance towards Jig and repeatedly explains that the operation is simple. In doing so, the reader can easily interpret the American’s view on the issue. He obviously does not want to keep the child and makes it known by constantly reassuring Jig and stating that he will still love her even if she goes through with the operation. “‘It’s really an awfully simple operation, Jig,’ the man said. ‘It’s not really an operation at all.’” Jig responds by stating,

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