Gender Roles In Margaret Atwood's Novel

Words: 949
Pages: 4

Written during the Victorian Era by a male author, the novel is about the adventures of a seven years old child who is curious about the world and is ready to explore it.

Victorian age was a period when gender roles were very clearly defined. These roles were based on the “natural characteristics” of the two sexes. Women were supposedly best suited to manage the domestic sphere because they were believed to be physically weaker than men. On the other hand, men were allowed to work outside the house and earn money. It can be argued that such restriction aimed towards controlling their sexuality as being a virgin and chaste were considered “virtues” of a lady. Also, according to the Christian mythology Eve’s curiosity to explore made Adam eat
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Some believe her to be a caricature of Queen Victoria who was reigning over the United Kingdom at the time the novel was written as this made the character easier for young ones to relate to. She is a woman with power and authority. ‘Off with their heads!” is her pet dialogue and she says this even when she gets slightly annoyed. She is dominating, violent, irrational and therefore unfit for decision-making. Because of her sadistic nature, she takes pleasure in being rude. Strong and evil monster-women are often shown in children’s literature. They are usually represented as witches or cruel step mothers. This portrayal is suggestive of what the consequences are like when a woman is given power outside domestic space. This explicitly builds an impression on children that female power is wrong and women need men to handle and control them. The King, on the other hand is a merciful and kind man whom one would prefer to be a ruler. Through the portrayal of reversed gender roles of the queen and her husband, Carroll presents the result of incorrect gender performances and the destructive consequence of playing with Victorian standards. Also when contrasted to Alice, she comes forth as a very unidealistic woman for Victorian audience. Alice is an embodiment of Victorian virtues. Carroll characterised her as “loving and gentle,” “courteous to all,” and “trustful”. Being opposite to this, the Queen becomes an