The Declaration of Independence states that all men are created equal. According to the United States Census Bureau in 2012, women earned approximately 77 cents for every dollar that a man made (Bassett 2013). Since its independence, all of America’s leaders have been male. What do all of these statements have in common? Male superiority. Since its foundation, the United States of America has been a male dominated society. Masculinity and male superiority have been demonstrated in various aspects of this nation’s culture. Such areas include literature and history. Male dominance can be exemplified in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, and Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire.
For many centuries, literature has been used to communicated various ideas and wisdom gained from experiences. The idea of masculinity and male superiority can be best portrayed in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. The novel takes place at a luxurious resort known as the Grand Isle, located in New Orleans, during the mid-1800s. Edna Pontellier, one of the main characters in the novel, struggles to find happiness, love, and freedom. Her attitude towards many aspects of life are much different than other married women around her. This novel is very unique mainly because of the time period it was written in. During this era, strict gender roles were enforced and women had many restrictions. The duties of women were strictly fixated on cooking, cleaning, and nurturing. Edna Pontellier craved for independence. She became depressed due to the monotonous and cookie cutter society that she was forced to conform in. The plot of the novel focuses on Edna’s journey to progress into an independent women in this male driven soc...
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Overall, the value of the American Identity is found in literature such as The Awakening, A Streetcar Named Desire, and The Great Gatsby. Different historical events such as the Women’s Suffrage Movements define America as a male driven nation. These few evidences of many provide an explanation of how men came to control a lot of the activity in the nation and its impact. Currently, women are treated with more respect, have equal rights, and can do many of the things that men can do. However, there is still a great amount of gender inequality in many various aspects and it will remain that way because this nation has been male dominated since it’s independence. History and literature are two aspects of our nation’s cultures that have demonstrated the gender inequality and contributed to the strengthening of this male dominated society in the course of time.
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