“Modern science has freed people’s consciousness from many myths, having shown them to be illusory and politically partisan. For instance, no one would now dare to claim that one race or nationality is superior to another, that a particular religion is the only true one, or that a certain political system is the only possible one.
However, a number of stereotypes remain unchanged” (Kliuchko 16). These stereotypes are generalizations about gender attributes and the role of an individual, which authors use to describe and evaluate the behaviors of their characters.I’ll be comparing and contrasting gender stereotypes in “a sorrowful woman” by Gayle Godwin and “Separating” by John Updike.
The division of labor according to gender leads to stereotypes that rationalize the division of labor. For example, because women disproportionately occupy roles that require nurturing behavior, people come to see women as a group as more nurturing. Men’s overrepresentation in positions of status and power leads to stereotypes of men as independent and agentic.Importantly, the consequences of gender stereotypes are not limited to the perception of others (Ryan et al 2004). Men and women often avoid task on which they might fail, and perceive themselves as less competent on many kinds of tasks.
In a sorrowful woman the mother isn’t comfortable with her role as a wife/mother. Gayle Godwin’s uses a fairy tale stereotype to reflect the mother’s attributes. The mother feels she will fail the family and tries detaching herself from them. Most Fairy tale don’t start or end like this story but she makes a valid point that fairy tales don’t always come true.Likewise, In Separating Richard and Joan’s marriage is ruined because neither of them wants the task of having a family. Both thought differently and neither was happy with their life at their age.
Both authors use reverse gender attributes which convey into stereotypes. Both A sorrowful woman and separating have reverse attributes on their characters. In Gayle Godwin’s story she gave the father female attributes; he cleaned, watched the kid, helped his wife and fixed household problems. Similarly, in separating John Updike does the same with the children in his story.The girls were given male attributes while the females were given male attributes. The females in Separating were claim and understanding while the men were crying and in denial of the situation that was in front of them. Authors often use stereotypes to describe and evaluate the behaviors of their characters. John Updike uses stereotypes to give emotion to his characters.
He uses female stereotypes to characterize his male characters. Research states that men don’t like expressing their emotions like women do.Like in His story all the men were emotional and that what made his story so good. On the other hand Gayle Godwin uses stereotypes of fairy tales and females in her story.
Like most fairy tales they start out bad and end with a happily ever after. When reading or watching fairy tales most females get an idea that marriage is fun and easy but in reality it really isn’t. Gayle Godwin uses this to distance her character from her family. The mother doesn’t like spending time with her kid or even the husband. She’s in a fantasy like state when she goes into the white room.What she was hoping for was to be happy and relax, not to salve herself over her families need. The mother wasn’t ready to be a wife or even a mother.
Much of the research I’ve come across supports the claim that it’s easier to maintain stereotypes than to change them. This could be to the fact that stereotypes can be useful. Thus, serves as an important function for the author to use. (Izumi and Hammonds 845) Both Gayle Godwin and John Updike use stereotypes in various ways to generalize the attributes and the role of their characters.