Cloudstreet Gender Essay

1413 WordsJun 13, 20116 Pages
Over the years, representation of gender has played a vital role in stabilizing the stereotypical family structure. By society assigning different “roles” to males and females, we categorize them into what they should and should not do based purely on their sex. Cloudstreet by acclaimed Perth-born author Tim Winton addresses these issues directly. Winton challenged the stereotypical gender roles of males and female in the 1940’s – 1960’s society of Western Australia by reflecting his characters upon his own family and the people in his life, and to relay to the reader his idea of what it means to be feminine and masculine as well as to make his characters more relatable with modern readers of today’s society. The 1940’s – 1960’s was a…show more content…
Males, on the other hand, are defined in The Masculine Mystique as withholding “barely repressed violence” however they are not as vengeful as females. Men used muscle and aggression to get what they wanted, while women used acidic tongues and sharp wits. Winton further discussed gender roles through the construction of Oriel’s husband, Lester Lamb. While most men of that time period were expected to be brutal with their words and actions, Lester is much more the submissive party in his marriage to Oriel. He allows her to emasculate him with her unfeminine approach to life, but he does not rise to compete with her, as he knows that any argument he starts will not be won. While men of that time period were stereotyped to work all through the day and come home to relax, Lester is a man who embraces his feminine side through cooking for the shop that Oriel opened. The roles are cleverly reversed between the two, as it is the female who is handling the money, advertising and dealing with customers while the husband works behind the scenes where he is not seen or heard, labouring away all day to provide the goods for his shop. It is as if he is employed by Oriel, as her staff member, and that she is in charge of what he can and can’t do. Winton decided to fully illustrate these differences by juxtaposing this couple with the Pickles family. Dolly Pickles, for example, is extremely comfortable with her own sexuality as a woman, and she uses it to her

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