The process of civilization has been greatly influenced by gender behavior compared to natural and innate differences. Each individual has their own perspective concerning gender roles; most of these perspectives are formed on the basis of community beliefs. However, gender roles are not influenced by only society and culture. Other factors such as geographical location, politics and literature have significant influence on the how individuals and society perceive gender riles. These factors dictate to us our current patterns of behaviors that are linked to our sexes. Most individuals do not even realize that gender roles are influenced by outside factors hence they tend to believe that the gender role they assume are based on their personal perception. It is due to this that I decide to explore gender roles are portrayed in literature. Considering that there are any aspects of literature, I decided to focus on traditional, modern and postmodern plays; to reflect on our current society and what is to be expected of it in the near future with regards to gender roles.
When selecting the research topic for this study I went through different materials that are related to gender role in literature. These source of information were mainly secondary, for instance, online articles like gender role in literature, female archetypes in literature and Traditional Gender Role, Author Examines Gender Role in Childrens Literature, Gender Roles and Expectation and A Portray of gender and a Description of Gender Roles in Selected American Modern and Postmodern Plays. The last source is an on online journal that formed the basis of this thesis.
In this paper, different works are going to be analyzed. From this, the paper will attempt to answer the following questions:
- What gender roles do the characters play in the plays?
- Under which category of gender role can we classify the identified roles?
- Do the gender roles that the character assume determining the situations they are found in the play?
- Where do the plays feature female and male gender with regards to certain patterns?
- Were the patterns polar opposites?
- In the postmodern and modern plays, is there a difference in the portrayal of different gender roles?
Also discussed in the paper are the different gender role theories: biological, structural-functional, social-learning, cognitive development, gender schema and symbolic interaction theories. After expounding on the gender role theories, the paper will look at the concept of modernism and postmodernism and their application to literature. The other section of the paper will look at the different role categories that are assumed by character. Finally, well look at how the gender roles portrayed in modern and postmodern plays have affect gender role in the current society.
Some of the issue that have come about with regards to the thesis is choosing of plays that are written by credible other. Therefore the assumption for the research will be that all the plays referred to will be from credible others. Secondly, the authors of plays are also human beings hence are bound to be influenced by factor such society and ethnic background s when reflecting on gender roles in the plays. This might just in turn show how the ethnic background of the writer has influenced gender role rather than how the work of the author influences the gender role of individuals and the society.
By the end of the paper, I hope to have clearly illustrated that literature in the form of plays has greatly impacted gender role in society.
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