Like Water For Chocolate And John Steinbeck 's The Grapes Of Wrath

1498 Words Sep 11th, 2015 6 Pages
In Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, the female characters are presented in nontraditional ways for the times in which the novels are set. Each novel shows a clear distinction between the male and female characters, and it would make sense to feel a feminist vibe from the authors at certain points in the novels. In these novels, the female characters use the traditional distinction between gender roles to change the dynamics of their families and function within the novel.
Before discussing the change from identifying the characters’ traits as female to relating their actions more to a male identity, and vice versa, the relationships between the male and female characters must be explored from the beginning. In The Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck clearly establishes the gender roles on page 4, “Women and children knew deep in themselves that no misfortune was too great to bear if their men were whole. The women went into the houses to their work… and the men sat in the doorways of their houses; their hands busy with sticks and little rocks. The men sat still—thinking—figuring.” The women were remaining inside of their traditional roles; relying on the men to make the decisions while they clean the house and care for the children. Soon the women will have no choice but to break out of the tradition of staying quiet while the men talk and make decisions for their families. Ma Joad will use her role as mother and wife to subtly, at…
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