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Focusing on Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain explored the roles of gender, because he did not only reinforce, but he also undermined some traditional definitions. By doing this, he managed to leave out contradictions and ambiguities that could inspire the readers of the novel to focus on the concept of gender and sexuality. The reason for this is that any novel that deals with the lives of both men and women prompts an exploration of these concerned individuals’ lives, their purposes and interaction (Sloane 54). In this regard, Twain explored the meaning of a man/boy and a woman/girl, and it was achieved through the “Huckleberry Finn”. To this end, Twain analytically explored the concept of gender roles by challenging or even breaking some of them. For example, Mark Twain challenged the concept of manhood and he proved that the idea was contradictory.
The author convinces his audience/readers to conform to the idea that the concept of manhood is merely an influence of other people, and it is achieved by avoiding the woman’s authority. This is evident from the story since Huck ended by refusing women’s civilization, and he probably attained this when he left the territory as a way to refuse staying with one of the characters, Aunt Sally (Twain 362). Moreover, Twain acknowledged the role of young girls/women, as seen in the case of Mary Jane, when the author recognized her beauty and strength (Twain 183).
It is evident from the Huckleberry Finn that gender roles, traditional versus egalitarian, have greatly influenced the level of family interactions, which can be pointed out as the masculinity versus femininity. It obviously expresses gender inequality. A masculine family organization consists in competitive and assertive management style as opposed to the female approach which is more modest and caring for others and the quality of life. This problem can be solved when a family is constituted with both father and mother, having well-defined roles and shared responsibilities (Sloane 122). This will eliminate the problem of gender bias in the family. Similarly to the family set-up, some people may opt for divorce and separations as solutions to their family differences and instabilities. However, such problems can be easily avoided through open dialogue. The involvement of every member of the family in the decision making processes can raise the chances of avoiding conflicts. Moreover, it would be a more prudent idea for family members to involve young girls and women in family decision-making processes and role sharing so as to minimize more challenges and resistances within the family unit.
However, interpretation of the novel portrayed a different perspective, which tended to alter the theme of this narrative. It can also be argued that dressing, setting, and characterization revealed a passive female personality, who could easily give in to a male for a romantic relationship. It is evident from this novel that there are myths about women, who are perceived to be voiceless, and should never engage in activism. This is why in most sections of this novel, young girls and women play fewer roles, even though there is a need for them to voice their concerns. Therefore, the myths about those features of women and activism have been explored in this discussion. Concerning gender and women studies, activism would function for the feminist roles, activities and struggles with the cultural issues, as well as matters relating to gender discrimination and segregation. Nevertheless, the dysfunctional elements have been witnessed when the female gender has suffered all forms of biased traditional laws pegged on the cultural outfit of their community, social segregation and discrimination of roles, work opportunities and expression. Some cultures, especially in the developing and underdeveloped nations, did not give women the opportunity to air their voices and opinions on matters relating to progress. They were forced to remain at home, doing all the domestic duties and could not contribute effectively to the country’s economic development. As a result, it lowered their self-esteem and their ability of good performance in different spheres. It is important to emphasize the role of female in fighting inequality because most social inequality practices have direct impact on the female gender (Sloane 206). Moreover, it is necessary for the female gender to engage in the practical actions, which aim to demonstrate their commitment in order to cease social inequality.
Focusing on the second novel, Toni Morrison used the “Beloved” to study incidents glossed over/left out in actual 19th century slave narratives. To this end, he explored the concept of reconciliation, especially after the political and ethnic injustices of slavery. Indeed, slavery injustices led to inhumane conditions, particularly during the Atlantic/transatlantic slave trade because many people died. In addition, the masters in charge of the slaves were too cruel to invoke fear and prevent them from attempting to escape. In this regard, slaves would be demoralized since their fundamental rights are infringed in the slavery process. Physically, slavery experience would lead to ill health and general body weakness. It would also have psychological effects such lack of self-pride and self-esteem. For example, female slaves were forced into sexual relationships, thus lowering their self-esteem and human dignity. Therefore, the “Beloved” provided a detailed account for these past slavery injustices.
The “Beloved” focused on building reconciliation that could be attained through formal apology and recognition. In this regard, Toni Morrison linked both the present and the past as a more strategic way to achieve reconciliation, and, consequently, to end the historical experiences of slavery. Moreover, the reconciliation is necessary because it only demands a partial compensation for the loss suffered (Morrison 87). The author also extensively used the concept of reparation to facilitate the understanding of the losses caused by enslavement, and he showed what could be gained afterwards. In summary, it is evident that the “Beloved” is a stylistic narrative that focused on the traumatic past experiences of slavery with the aim to change everything in the future.