Essay on Gender Roles within Puss in Boots

Essay on Gender Roles within Puss in Boots

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Angela Carter utilizes her interpretation of “Puss in Boots” to convey a notion pertaining to gender roles within society; notions particularly pertaining to women’s place in the eyes of the populace. Through the character dynamic, and the perception of Puss, Carter is able to impress her ideas pertaining to women’s role within society upon the reader in a commendable manner.
The first vestige of gender role analysis is prevalent in the names of the male characters: Puss in Boots, Signor Panteleone, and Master. These names are a reference to male dominance within society. Puss in Boots, and Signor Panteleone both reference clothing items associated with males, and their authoritative role within society. Pantaloons and boots are both emblematic of assertiveness and domination, and therefore the coinciding reference to their names, and their male nature, causes the reader to perceive that the male characters are supreme in terms of their position in society. Puss’s companion, however, is simply referred to as “Master” throughout the text. This term serves as a reminder of the Master’s power, and the societal expectation that other characters would defer themselves to him; it may also allude to the notion of a male bearing the appellation of Master of the Household. This emphasises the traditional role of males, and their presumed entitlement to power, thus enticing the reader to believe that the character in question is the dominant character within the story.
The phallus is symbolic of male dominance and power. Puss’s pride of his own endowments is a prevalent theme throughout the story. Puss is often seen to glorify and commend his own physique, which leads him to groom himself through-out the novel. This suggests that t...


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...what she needs. She, an elder who should be respected, submits in a manner befitting of a female in that society. This further exemplifies the inherent control that men exert over women.
By the end of the story, both Tabby and the women exert control over Puss and the Master, whilst maintaining the delusion that the males are the dominant party within the relationship. This conveys that women can indeed obtain control over their lives and their partners without diverging from their inherent femininity, as they hold the power to manipulate men in a subtle, sensuous manner.
Angela Carter portrays the notion that women may become dominant in a humourous manner. This witty manner allows her to explore the concept in a socially acceptable manner, thus encouraging female liberation and denouncing the male entitlement to women without encountering severe repercussions.

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