What Is Masculinity And Femininity In Snake And The Yellow Wallpaper

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The notions of masculinity and femininity are prevalently addressed by the authors of both Snake and The Yellow Wallpaper, with attention being drawn to these concepts through various approaches. Firstly, both Jennings and Gilman, authors of Snake and The Yellow Wallpaper respectively, present the expectations and existing rules that surround the gender roles connected to both the masculine and feminine. Having established these roles, the authors use their characters to present both a submission and subversion to the notions of masculine and feminine, while juxtaposing and critiquing these two concepts. Furthermore, the authors use a variety of symbols, imagery and language which can be associated with masculine and feminine aspects of the…show more content…
One of the notions the authors use to explore this is through the roles of Husband and Wife. The expectations and rules that are placed upon both couples from the texts in order to fulfil their role, influence their relationship, the plot and the way in which their character exists in the world of the story. The two opposing roles reflect the idea of masculinity and femininity being “a highly polarised binary” (Harper 509) where the two notions “gain meaning only in relation to the other” (509). Throughout The Yellow Wallpaper, we are able to glimpse the structure that surrounds these roles through the way John and the narrator act and the relationship between them. John’s treatment of the narrator is very much reflective of that of a caring yet controlling husband. Although John is portrayed as someone with good intent, his actions convey how he seeks to control his wife. He refers to her as a “blessed little goose” (28), asserting the narrator as a docile and delicate figure in a somewhat patronising manner. Throughout the text, John displays himself as the caring husband who wishes to be able to handle his wife following her illness, he reads to his wife until she falls asleep and…show more content…
These concepts throughout text are tied heavily to both the time period and the Australian setting. Rex is very much a creation of his environment, coming from a family where “no stories (are) told” (Jennings 8) and wanting only to “harvest his crops, care for his animals and share it all with a good woman” (42) it is heavily emphasised how much he wants to adhere to an Australian masculinity. This concept has been heavily prevalent throughout Australian society, described as “bushman masculinity” (Murrie 70) it has been how a man “exist(s) among men…the bushman’s freedom…could be celebrated in a spirit of nationalism” (Murrie 70), this kind of masculinity and freedom is what Rex desires to be a part of. The idea of fraternity between the bushman is encompassed in his perspective, when he thinks about leaving Irene he recalls “men who had done that…left their wives and gone north” (43). It seems Rex continuously goes back to what he knows is the way his fellow bushman have lived their lives. Ironically enough it is this fraternity that allows for a break in Rex’s masculine image when he drunkenly dances with his friend who visits the home. They “giggle like girls” and “dance a tango” (53), Jennings is displaying an instance where this fraternity that Rex clings to, enables him to slip out of performing the masculine role. Jennings exemplifies the rareness of this
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