Treasure Island Gender Roles

Decent Essays
Gender and Children’s Novels: How Treasure Island Promotes Gender Inequality
Reading novels is an experience unlike any other. With the crack of a new book, the reader is transported into the pages, into a new land, ready to take on the role of protagonist. Each little girl has the chance to be a pirate-fighting hero, each little boy able to become the doting husband. If that sentence sounds strange, it is because society has socialized individuals to gender any and all activities, reading included. Elizabeth Segel drives this point home in her article “As the Twig is Bent… Gender and Childhood Reading,” which gives an in-depth analysis of gender in children’s book, and the implications it has for readers.
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This can be detrimental to the development of a well-rounded individual, which Segel glosses over in the last page when she states that boys are missing out on another perspective (184). The absence of femininity is brought to life in the novel in a variety of ways. First, there is literally one female character in the entire book, and she is restricted to a handful of chapters. The consequence is seen via Jim’s behaviour, as he is then constantly seeking out approval from the masculine characters in his life, as there is no other perspective for him to view the world. Next, there is the strange bond with Billy, as he represents the masculinity Jim finds lacking in his father; consequently, this leads to his fascination with pirates and treasure. Furthermore, the degree of violence is antonymous with femininity and also results in the good guys winning; accordingly, this promotes to little boys who read the story that females are unnecessary, and guns can solve
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