In analyzing portrayals of women, it is appropriate to begin with the character of Margarita. For, within the text, she embodies the traditionally masculine traits of bravery, resilience, and violence as a means of liberating herself from an existence of abuse and victimhood. Even more, the woman plays upon stereotypes of femininity in order to mask her true nature. The reader witnesses this clever deception in a scene where the character endures a “wholesome thrashing” from her huge, violent, and grizzly bear-like husband, Guerra (81). Although Margarita “[submits] to the infliction with great apparent humility,” her husband is found “stone-dead” the next morning (81). Here, diction such as “submits” and “humility” relate to the traits of weakness, subservience and inferiority that are so commonly expected of women, especially in their relationships with men. Yet, when one
In Spain and the Spanish colonies in South America in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, gender roles were distinct and the opportunity gap was enormous. Catalina de Erauso compares the two roles through her memoir, “Lieutenant Nun,” where she recounts her life as a transvestite in both the new and old world. Through having experienced the structured life of a woman as well as the freedom involved in being a man, de Erauso formed an identity for herself that crossed the boundaries of both genders. Catalina de Erauso’s life demonstrates the gap in freedom and opportunity for women, as compared to men, in the areas of culture, politics and economy, and religion.
“The Lieutenant Nun” is the memoir of Catalina De Erauso. At a tender age, Catalina was placed in a convent to become a nun in the future, which was a common way of showing loyalty to the Catholic church during that era. After fleeing at the age of 15, she worked numerous jobs disguised as a man. She portrays traditional masculine characteristics and embraces to a point where she would kill to defend her male honor. She writes about her time serving as a soldier in Peru and Chile, fighting for the spanish cause. Throughout the snippet of her story, there is a constant emphasis on the relevance of a relationship with God. When worst came to worst or even when success took place, De Erauso communicates
In this essay, female oppression in La Casa de Bernarda Alba will be discussed and analyzed. However, in order to be able to understand the importance of this theme and the impact it has had on the play, one must first understand the role of female oppression in the Spanish society in the 1930s.
In Isabel Allende’s Inés of My Soul, one woman, Inés Suarez, challenges the traditional role of women and society by embarking upon a journey alongside her companion to conquer a part of the New World. Throughout the expedition, Inés faces challenges because of her gender, yet she also manages to use her gender and the traditional gender role to her advantage.
This essay will be discussing how gender is portrayed in the films Todo Sobre Mi Madre (All About My Mother) and Tacones Lejanos (High Heels), both directed by Pedro Almodóvar. The use of the theatre and performance, along with the audiences that come with it, enables these films to explore the manner in which gender is unstable. Gwynne Edwards writes that Almodóvar often pays tribute to the stage . Almodóvar dedicates All About My Mother “to all the actresses who have played actresses, to all women who act, to men who act and become women” , which is also relevant to High Heels. He uses the stage setting as a platform to show the instability of gender, not only on a physical stage but also in the characters’ lives: “The dialogue of his films has the cut and thrust, and very often wit, of stage plays. There are also soliloquies, and one of them – in All About My Mother – is even delivered to the audience from the stage of a theatre” . Russell Jackson suggests that this is done as a method for the characters to “find the sometimes onerous ability to deal with and describe their past, and to create a future in the face of death and desertion.” The character ‘La Agrado’ in All About My Mother as well High Heels’ Femme Letal (Letal), will be considered - both the manner in which they carry themselves throughout the film, as well as the their performances on stage. In the following paragraphs, I will illustrate how performance and the stage are vital in Almodóvar’s exploration
Throughout history, our society has created gender norms that are followed consistently by members of communities. Though they differ from place to place, we recognize trends that seem almost prescribed to certain genders. Specifically, in the 1600s, men and women had explicit roles that were designated by people of stature. These expectations were followed loyally and people who failed to follow suit were shunned or sometimes even suffered seriously punishment including crude public beatings that were mot only pain inflicting but also status damaging (Rocke, Gender and Sexual Culture, 159). Looking deeper into the novel The Return of Martin Guerre, we identify from the start the expectations that are in place and how they play a role in the story. In comparison of Characters, taking into consideration the standard that had been set for men of this era, we notice that Pansette (Arnaud du Tilh) is an almost faultless example of what is expected for men and in contrast, Martin Guerre fails to meet these standards.
Based on Cisneros’ works of literature, gender roles in a Hispanic culture revolves around patriarchal rule. The repercussions of a patriarchal rule includes the limitations of female liberation and development. Cleofilas’ abusive situation exemplifies the limitations of her independence and development as she can not make her own decisions and has to solely depend on her husband. This situation is illustrated when Cleofilas explains that the towns are “built so that you have to depend on husbands... You can drive only if you’re rich enough to own and drive an own car. There is no place to go” (Cisneros 628). Cleofilas reveals that men are the dominant gender and have more authority, and that women are compelled to depend on them in her society. It is an exceptionally rare case that a woman can afford her own car, for the men usually control the finances in a household. Additionally, Cleofilas has nowhere to seek refuge from her husband. Although she yearns to return to her father’s home, she decides not to due to the social standards imposed on her. In her society, the act of returning home after marriage is socially unacceptable. She understands that her family will be viewed in a negative light if she were to return home, as seen when Cleofilas refers to her town as a “town of gossips” (627). Similar to other men in the society, Juan Pedro’s authority is shown through his abuse. Cleofilas recalls, “He slapped her once, and then again, and again; until the lip split and bled an orchid of blood” (626).
“Beautiful and Cruel” marks the beginning of Esperanza’s “own quiet war” against machismo (Hispanic culture powered by men). She refuses to neither tame herself nor wait for a husband, and this rebellion is reflected in her leaving the “table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate (Cisneros 89).” Cisneros gives Esperanza a self-empowered voice and a desire for personal possessions, thing that she can call her own: Esperanza’s “power is her own (Cisneros 89).” Cisneros discusses two important themes: maintaining one’s own power and challenging the cultural and social expectations one is supposed to fulfill. Esperanza’s mission to create her own identity is manifest by her decision to not “lay (her) neck on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain (Cisneros 88).” Cisneros’ rough language and violent images of self-bondage reveal the contempt with which Esperanza views many of her peers whose only goal is to become a wife. To learn how to guard her power
In “Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Transvestite in the New World” by Catalina de Erauso, a female-born transvestite conquers the Spanish World on her journey to disguise herself as a man and inflicts violence both on and off the battlefield. Catalina discovers her hidden role in society as she compares herself to her brothers advantage in life, as they are granted money and freedom in living their own lives. Erauso decides to take action of this act of inequality by forming a rebellion, as she pledges to threaten the social order.The gender roles allotted to both men and women in the Spanish world represent the significance of societal expectations in order to identify the importance of gender in determining one’s position in the social order in the Spanish World.
Sor Juana established herself not only as a feminist voice in Colonial Mexico but also as one of the most influential writers of her time. Her writing continued to be controversial and, while she wasn’t silenced by the convent, the threatened patriarchy eventually took action. While it is believed that her “writing was an act of defiance” (Bergmann), she also “struggled against the ecclesial authorities that tried to silence her voice” (Gonzalez 102). Sor Juana was not only brave in her publication of her work and going outside of Mexican printing to do so (Kirk) but her work was also a direct commentary on the dominant patriarchy of the time. In response to a bishop who wrote under the disguise of “Sor Filotea,” Sor Juana attempted to defend a woman’s rights to education for the last time. However, she ultimately faced
Lope de Vega’s play touches upon several key components and ideas that were brought up in many of the other stories read throughout the semester. This included the role of gender and how men and women are viewed differently in the Spaniard town of Fuenteovejuna. Another topic included the importance of family, love, and relationships and their connection on loyalty, trust, and personal beliefs. The last major influence found in other literature and in Fuenteovejuna, were the political and religious references made throughout the play. Even though Lope de Vega didn’t make these views obvious, the reader could still pick up on their connotation and the references made towards these specific ideas. With all of this in mind, each of these
Presenting literature to the public that is meant to be a commentary on social or political issues, masked under the guise of entertaining and fictional, is a tool implemented by authors and activists for centuries. While not all satire is as overt as Jonathan Swift’s suggestion that we eat the babies, it does not diminish the eyebrow raising suggestions that are conveyed once the meaning has been discovered. In Aphra Behn’s The History of the Nun and Eliza Haywood’s Fantomina, the established expectations of the female role within society are brought into question then directly rejected. These expectations establish that women should be deferential to men, morally unblemished, and virtuous at all times. Men, however, are not held to these expectations in the same way. The masculine roles assumed by Isabella and Fantomina demonstrate a private rebellion against the established patriarchal society as it warns against the under-estimation of women and proves that women exist independently.
Carol Lazzaro-Weis is the President of the American Association of Italian Studies, the largest associate of university professors of Italian in North America and serves on several editorial boards. Professor Lazzaro-Weis has been appointed to serve on the International Advisory Board for The Centre of Contemporary Women’s Writing. Her teaching and research interests include nineteenth and twentieth century Italian literature, genre, French women writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, feminist theory, etc. In addition to numerous articles on French and Italian writers, she has published the following books: From Margins to Mainstream: Feminism and Fictional modes in Italian Women’s Writing, La Signorina and Other Stories, Confused Epiphanies: L’abbé Prévost and the Romance Tradition, etc. She is currently preparing a book-length manuscript on women’s historical novels in Italy, France, Francophone Canada and the Caribbean.
Of the three women in this play, each dresses as a man once, furthering the comedic air with clever disguises. Jessica starts off the chain of costumes by dressing up as a torchbearer to flee from her father’s house. “Cupid himself would blush / To see me thus transformed to a boy” (2.vi.39-40). Jessica’s readiness to run away from her father triumphed over her embarrassment about dressing as a man. In the same way, Portia and Nerissa don the clothes of lawyers to save their husbands’ friend. “There you shall find that Portia was the doctor / Nerissa there, her clerk” (5.i.298-9). This lie’s hilarity is furthered when Balthazar is praised for being smarter than most men. But the comedic elements don’t stop there.