Wednesday, May 6, 2015

1919 or 2015?

       This week's presentation was very entertaining and I thought it was the best way to close out presentations! To be honest, at first, I was caught up with the entertainment aspect of the performance and therefore, it became difficult to spot the huge touches it made on gender roles and the differences between what women and men see. The discussion after was very helpful. There was a lot of irony in the play relating to Gaspell's dramatization of gender roles. The women, which is not usual, were basically able to solve a mystery that the very confident men, could not.
       The women in the play, notice all of the things that to others, may seem insignificant. For example, the women quickly notice the broken jars and begin to sympathize because they know the hard work women put in to keep their homes well kept, their families happy, and all resources in perfect condition. The investigator completely ignored this and simply judged Minnie Foster for having an "unkept home". He also failed to notice that the kitchen was half way cleaned, meaning that Minnie Foster abruptly stopped what she was doing. This to me, was a huge emphasis on gender roles. Women are expected to be in the kitchen and in doing so, they know the ins and outs. If something is a little off in the kitchen, women would notice it, not men. As crazy as it seems when it is thought about, in many households this same thing can easily occur.
       As the women discover the dead bird, they decide to conceal this evidence and in that way, block any advancements in the persecution of their friend. This moment symbolized the only way in which the women gained any sort of power. They were now in control of the situation. It was humorous to see how the men remained confident as ever as they did not discover a single ounce of evidence. I've seen men like this in my own family; Even after a female does something better or discovers something they could not, they simply remain confident and most likely blame something else for their inability.
       More revelation of gender roles occurred in the play when the women's behaviors, speech or personality changed whenever the men were present. It is unfortunate that this is seen today solely because there is this huge social stigma about how women "should act" and how men "should act". Many women feel as though they are always being observed, I can speak on that. It was amazing to see that this play was written in 1919 and if one were to change the clothes to modern attire and tweak the language, it could easily be a play written in 2015.

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