Brittany Weston Essay

827 words - 4 pages

A common theme in John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath is the social commentary in promoting the norm gender stereotypes. In Steinbeck’s novel the typical stereotype that has been played throughout history is of women’s obedience to men. The setting in the novel takes place in the 1930’s on a farmers’ ranch in Oklahoma. During this time was the Great Depression, this caused many families to move westward to California. The men, as head of their households were the ones to make the decisions for the family or also known as the norm gender stereotypes. The more specific examples are how women do housework while the men make family decisions. It is soon later addressed by Steinbeck’s ...view middle of the document...

Pa chooses not to retaliate and “whip” his wife because he feels as if he shouldn’t have to, he knows his wife is a good woman and is only looking out for the best interest for their family. Steinbeck confirms the gender shift by stating, “She was the power. She had taken control” (Steinbeck 231). Henceforth, Ma makes the decisions on regarding the family since she is not happy with his decision making.
Now that Ma has made it prevalent that she will be taking charge and will retort to violence if necessary, she has become a role model for the younger generation. Later within the novel it comes to the reader’s attention that Ma has been an influence for twelve year old Ruthie. She is one of the younger siblings in the Joad family, When Ruthie does not get her way she solves her problems differently than most little girls would do so: “Ruthie sprang at her, slapped her, pushed her and wrestled” (Steinbeck 433). After seeing Ma as an example of taking charge and using violence, Ruthie sees it as perfectly acceptable to behave in this manner.
Steinbeck later addresses this gender change, by a statement made by Ma “Woman can change better than man. Woman got all her...

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