Analysis Of Willa Cather 's ' My Antonia '

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Kathleen Hood English 205 Dr. Rosanna West Walker 30 July 2016 Gender Roles Reexamined In Willa Cather’s novel entitled My Antonia, she writes about several female characters that challenge the stereotypical role of women in a male-dominated society during the early 1900s. In Trifles, a play written by Susan Glaspell, her female characters are represented as crafty and bright and not mere intellectual inferiors to their male counterparts. Upon closer examination of these two separate and distinct stories, Cather and Glaspell establish that these female characters defy the existing typecast of women as being less capable than men. In My Antonia, Cather conveys, rather convincingly, that she did not adhere to society’s view that women should be restricted solely to the domestic domain. Her writing incorporates the notion that women are more than capable of performing tasks which have traditionally been characterized as “manly-type” duties. When Antonia and Jim were collecting fresh vegetables from Emmaline’s garden, Antonia exclaimed, “Oh, better I like to work out of doors than in a house! I not care that your grandmother say it makes me like a man. I like to be like a man” (98). Fletcher Angus, the author of Willa Cather and the Upside-Down Politics of Feminist Darwinism, maintains that Cather portrayed prairie society as a world in which gender roles were not strictly defined. In Cather’s My Antonia, women aided men by cleaning their homes and preparing food, but they also

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