Gender And Roles : A Great Deal About The Immigrant Experience

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Gender and Roles

“We may look and act modern in many ways, but we can’t escape what we are... obedient chinese daughters.” This quote sums up the world that May and Pearl live in, that no matter the culture, no matter the time period, and no matter the situation, your gender decides your fate or does it? The theme of gender and how they dictate our roles in society run rampant in Shanghai Girls by Lisa Lee. Lee’s novel covers a great deal about the immigrant experience and the struggles they had to go through to adapt to their new environment but one thing they didn 't need to adapt was the parts they played in their families. The importance of this traditional society,where the men are the breadwinners and the women the caretakers are first shown in how Pearl and Mays family worked. The father was expected to make money and take care of the household, while the mother, May and Pearl were off fooling around. When the situation turns dire, the father does not conform to his role to help his family and takes the easy way out and sells off his daughters. However the father did not account for his daughters refusing the offer he already made to pay back his debts. This caused a thunderstorm of confusion and trouble, which led to the death of respect, Pearl had for her father. For in this critical moment, the father wet himself and could not muster out a word but the mother brilliantly stepped in and defused the situation. “I see hardness in her that I’ve never seen before.”,

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