Gender Roles In Childrens Literature Essay

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Gender Bias in Literature

I have thought about many different ways to organize this paper and have come to the conclusion that the best way to approach the topic is on a book-by-book basis. My perceptions of the gender biases in these books vary greatly and I did not want to begin altering my views on each so that they would fit into certain contrived connections. What interests me most in these stories is how the authors utilize certain character’s within their given environment. Their instincts and reactions are a wonderful window into how the authors perceive these “people” would interact with their surroundings and often are either rewarded or punished by the author through consequences in the plot for their responses. Through
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They did not turn to the only woman present at the camp, nor the man who disciplines them each day, to fill their maternal needs. Instead they turn to the weakest figure in their lives and mock him by referring to him as a woman. This demonstrates to us that Sachar considers femininity a weakness in this world and has no issues showing us. As Ernst wrote, “How easy is it to relegate girls to second class citizens when they are seen as second-class citizens, or not at all” (Ernst 67).
This point is only furthered by the fact that the only woman present is such a fairy tale character. She is portrayed to us as all but a sorceress and it can be assumed she has taken on this persona in order to survive in a predominately male post in a totally male dominated environment. Even in our class it was evident that many readers were taken aback by the fact that Sachar chose to make his warden a female. And so it again can be seen that Sachar has imparted onto us a bias that a real woman could not function in this world so he had to invent a completely fictional and grandiose one. With all the other characters in the book appearing so human, it seems obvious he turned the warden into a beast because he felt he had to.
In What Jamie Saw, by Carolyn Coman, gender bias shows itself in a new way. In this book masculinity and evil seem to go hand in hand. There is the character of Van, who is pretty much the same abusive man from every…