Kingsolver shows that while motherhood is a celebrated social expectation, as evident through the pamphlet given to Lou Ann, the woman is seen as the “other.” As Beauvoir succinctly puts it: “The men of today show a certain duplicity of attitude which is painfully lacerating to women; they are willing on the whole to accept woman as a fellow being, an equal; but they still require her to remain the inessential (NATC 1272). Lou Ann as a pregnant woman does not fit into the social construct of beauty. Because she is pregnant, “on the bus for instance, several men would stand up to offer her a seat, but they wouldn’t quite look at her” (The Bean Trees 32). The beautiful women in the prenatal pamphlet from the hospital are not shown pregnant, because patriarchal norm is so deeply rooted in every aspect of the woman’s life; men dictates how a woman’s life should, based on this, Lou Ann’s conclusion is that the pamphlet is the work of a man and the precision of this according to Beauvoir is that: “the idea of femininity is artificially defined by custom and fashion, it is imposed on every woman from the outside” (The Second sex 723-724).
Lou Ann’s gender also subject her to neglect. Her husband, Angel walks away from their home without notice. In chapter Two, she gives up her life to tend to him after the acc...
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...n what others’ assessment is, Cee becomes an easy prey for Principal, her former husband.
According to the narrator: “…if Prince said she was pretty, she believed him. If he said at fourteen she was a woman, she believed that too. And if he said, I want you for myself…” (Home 48). Self-perception changes when an external force shows you who you are. In a bid to climb out of social hole, Cee falls into the hand of a young man whose goal is to use her to obtain what he wants. Also, internalized patriarchy is evident here. Lower class women are more prone to depending on or believe the patriarchal school of thought that a woman needs a man to survive. She however finds herself in the city abandoned by the man whom she thought loved her. “She was broken, not broken up but broken down, down into her separate parts” (53). This further led her to where she does not know.
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