Reflection of Culture: Make Way for Ducklings and Mrs Doubtfire

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Books symbolically show the ideals of society through their words and illustrations. Two stories that have had a profound cultural impact on society are Make Way for Ducklings and Ms. Doubtfire. Make Way for Ducklings, published first in 1941 by Robert McCloskey, illustrates the parental journey of a mother and father duck. Ms. Doubtfire, published later in 1987 by Anne Fine, is the 170 page story of a father turning to desperate measures to spend more time with his children. In each story the gender roles of each character will be examined, the roles each character takes will be contrasted, as well as the significance of feminism portrayed in these symbolic integrationist children’s books. Make Way for Ducklings begins as a mother and father duck, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, are looking for a safe place to have and raise their ducklings. This culturally popular book strolls through popular Boston locations like Beacon Hill, the Massachusetts State House, and Louisburg Square. As Mr. and Mrs. Mallard look for a safe place to raise their eight ducklings, they finally decide on an island in the Charles River. One must remember the cultural implications at the time that each book was written. Pre-feminist movement, Make Way for Ducklings showcases the typical role of a female. The life of a woman was limited to very minimal career options. Society had very distinct ‘roles’ for women to be in. Before woman’s suffrage, psychologists actually associated feminism with mental illness. In a male dominated society, people were under the impression that all women were weak and both physically and intellectually inferior to men. Women were viewed as sexual objects, and women that became pregnant were forced to quit their jobs. Married women who b... ... middle of paper ... ...f their time, and show the ideals of society in both the pre and post feminism movement. Make Way for Ducking’s illustrates the journey of a traditional mother and father duck as they find a place to raise their family and by using social interaction theory, clearly establish their personal roles and follow norms. Ms. Doubtfire, published in 1987 shows subtly the effects of the feminist movement, as the father becomes the primary caretaker for his children. In each story, the gender roles of each character are established by social interaction and the significant effects of Women’s Liberation is present and very evident in these symbolic integrationist children’s books. Works Cited McCloskey, Robert (1961) [1941]. Make Way For Ducklings (Hardback). New York: The Viking Press. Fine, Anne (1987) Ms. Doubtfire (Hardback). United Kingdom: Hamish Hamilton.

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