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Gender Roles In Chocolat And The Hunger Games

1955 words - 8 pages

Melissa KarasackREL 372-01Professor Sheridan4/27/14Gender Roles in Chocolat and The Hunger GamesDo females have to sit and sew while their male counterparts go hunt and provide sustenance for the family? Should either sex be any the lesser if they do or do not wish to stay in their pre-dictated gender roles? Both Chocolat and The Hunger Games address how society views gender roles in very different ways. Chocolat exploits and capitalizes on gender roles as it inspires women to embrace their femininity as they are comfortable with it. The Hunger Games takes a different approach, completely switching gender roles for the lead male and female characters, showing that neither gender is restricted to society's views on how they should act.Chocolat follows Vianne, a woman sticking to her ancestry and living a semi-nomadic life with her daughter born out of wedlock, Anouk. As Vianne arrives in a small French village, she finds a very old fashioned populace, anxious to maintain the old ways of the church and led by the mayor, Reynaud. Vianne is immediately rejected as she embraces her denial of a husband or father for Anouk. Vianne is a very nurturing and protective mother, and she is comfortable in her familial status as a single mother. Not only does she provide security and nurturing for her daughter, but she also is capable of enjoying her life as a single mother, as is evident in her relationship with Roux. Vianne finds a balance between her responsibilities to her background and desires and her daughter. She embraces her role as a feminine, nurturing person in motherhood by making it her own, combining all aspects of life that are important to her while taking on the role that society projects onto her.Vianne is not only renounced for her marital status, but also for her occupation. As a chocolatier opening her shop during the Lenten season Vianne provides the townspeople with a source of lust and temptation (Steel). As the church and Renaud condemn her practices, she continues on, providing peace and happiness to those who are lucky enough to sample her chocolates. She shows that it isn't terrible for people to give in to temptation occasionally, as everyone must find what makes them happy and embrace it. For example, she provides the chocolate that sparks desire in Yvette's husband again, bringing happiness back into their marriage. This lust that the townspeople have for the chocolates is a reflection of Vianne's feminine sensuality, as she embraces and accepts herself.Another of the central female characters in the film is Josephine, an abused housewife. She finds the strength to leave her drunken husband and flees to Vianne who teaches her to make chocolates and to live independently. Josephine learns to be confident in herself, empowered to take control of her life. When her husband comes back asking to start anew, she denies him, finally happy with her life. The denial angers him, and he attacks Josephine and Vianne that night. In a moment...

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