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Redefining Gender

analytical Essay
1970 words
1970 words
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Throughout time, women have moved from the bottom of the world to somewhere closer to the top. Women were once property, and then became the slightly more acknowledged homemakers, and then were allowed to enter the workforce eventually. Unfortunately, that is about where it has paused for now. There are still many people who would prefer women to be as they once were, and women largely do not have the same opportunities as me. Women authors like Judy Grahn, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and Ursula LeGuin tried to capture different feelings toward these things through their writing. Grahn’s poem “A Woman is Talking to Death” shows a rigid hierarchy in society in which women are pushed down, while Gilman’s “The Yellow Wall-paper” and LeGuin’s “She Unnames Them” each depict women acting against these structures. Using Grahn’s depiction of society as a framework, Gilman’s and LeGuin’s pieces appear to be acts of rebellion, but in different ways, Gilman’s narrator being more extreme and LeGuin’s being more calm. All three argue in their own ways for women to be moved from the bottom tier. Grahn’s piece shows more modern-traditional structures that are present in society, which unfortunately means a rigid hierarchy. The men sit at the top of the hierarchy by pushing women down, but there is a hierarchy even within the men. The hierarchy of men is determined firstly by race, placing men of color below white men. The poem opens with the speaker witnessing a black truck driver hit a white man on a motorcycle, who has simply stopped on a bridge, and kill him because he could not stop in time. Because the driver is black and the victim white, the police “beat the hell out of [the driver]” and ask why he killed “that poor kid” as if h... ... middle of paper ... ...g the hierarchy will destroy women, and speaks to Death to say that future generations will feel the same as she does, so something needs to change. Gilman’s narrator shows the effects of that constant destruction in the form of mental illness, but also shows a change that could happen, which is a role reversal of the genders. LeGuin takes a less extreme route, showing a situation in which no one gets pushed down due to what groups they fall into and simply removes the categories, showing that only words separate beings from one another and are a social construction. The difference between these redefinitions shows that there are different ways to restructure society, and different people may want different things A single redefinition of gender may not satisfy everyone as the current definition does not satisfy everyone, but a redefinition is still necessary.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how women authors like judy grahn, charlotte perkins gilman, and ursula leguin tried to capture different feelings toward these things through their writing.
  • Analyzes how grahn's piece shows modern-traditional structures that are present in society. the hierarchy of men is determined firstly by race, placing men of color below white men.
  • Analyzes grahn's depiction of society, where men fall into categories by titles, specifically titles that give authority. the speaker gives anecdotes about military men and how their ranks affect their social standing.
  • Analyzes how grahn's piece teaches women to be kind and submissive because they don't invent crime, punishment, and bridges. the use of the word "brother" signifies that this piece of wisdom is addressed to a male.
  • Analyzes how socialization has not broken women down. many women, like the speaker, do not adhere to these values; they help each other in the face of adversity.
  • Analyzes how gilman's story exemplifies the same unity among women as grahn’s poem.
  • Analyzes how grahn's speaker refers to certain things as being "womanly," reaffirming the idea that caring for someone is a woman’s job.
  • Analyzes how gilman portrays men as having power based on their title. her husband, john, and brother are both physicians, so she is automatically confined to doing what they believe she should.
  • Analyzes how gilman's narrator is extreme about her escape, while eve in leguin’s piece takes the opposite route. she rebels only in the way she talks to death.
  • Analyzes how leguin's story focuses on the idea of unity and the discarding of a hierarchy, but in less extreme ways than gilman.
  • Analyzes how each of these stories attempts to redefine gender differently. grahn's poem presents the hierarchy in which gender is a problem, and speaks to death to say that future generations will feel the same as she does, so something needs to change.
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