Books symbolically show the ideals of society through their words and illustrations. Two stories that have had a profound cultural impact on society are Make Way for Ducklings and Ms. Doubtfire. Make Way for Ducklings, published first in 1941 by Robert McCloskey, illustrates the parental journey of a mother and father duck. Ms. Doubtfire, published later in 1987 by Anne Fine, is the 170 page story of a father turning to desperate measures to spend more time with his children. In each story the gender roles of each character will be examined, the roles each character takes will be contrasted, as well as the significance of feminism portrayed in these symbolic integrationist children’s books.
Make Way for Ducklings begins as a mother and father duck, Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, are looking for a safe place to have and raise their ducklings. This culturally popular book strolls through popular Boston locations like Beacon Hill, the Massachusetts State House, and Louisburg Square. As Mr. and Mrs. Mallard look for a safe place to raise their eight ducklings, they finally decide on an island in the Charles River.
One must remember the cultural implications at the time that each book was written. Pre-feminist movement, Make Way for Ducklings showcases the typical role of a female. The life of a woman was limited to very minimal career options. Society had very distinct ‘roles’ for women to be in. Before woman’s suffrage, psychologists actually associated feminism with mental illness. In a male dominated society, people were under the impression that all women were weak and both physically and intellectually inferior to men. Women were viewed as sexual objects, and women that became pregnant were forced to quit their jobs. Married women who became pregnant were forced to carry the child, regardless of the circumstances. Their status set was primarily ‘wife’ and ‘mother’. However, as civilization advanced, feminism evolved: The Women’s Liberation Act. By the late 50’s, women were becoming upset with societies lack of equality. Females began protesting and campaigning for reproductive rights, equal pay, voting rights, and many other rights that are commonly taken for granted today.
Focusing specifically on the role the Mother Duck in Make Way for Ducklings, one can examine the cultural norms by using a Symbolic Interactionist perspective. The mother duck is focused primarily on her role as a mother to her children. Although the mother in the story is in fact, a duck, she is symbolic to the perspectives of typical women at this time. She and her husband, search around Boston, to find a suitable place to raise their children. But every time Mr. Mallard finds a location, Mrs. Mallard finds something ‘wrong’ with the location. They almost decide on the Public Garden, but she is nearly run down by a passing bicyclist. Mr. Mallard it seems, is useless with his ideas of how to raise children, does not see the potential error in judgments, and eventually leaving...