AIC - exploration of gender roles

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  • How does Priestley explore gender roles in AIC?
    • Theme
      • Masculinity is akin to selfishness
        • overarching moral lesson Priestley teaching is to look out for one another
          • critical of capatalism as it teaches selfishness and not selflessness
      • men as the leader of household and society
        • decision maker
      • Men  = Marriage as a way to SOCIALLY ADVANCE
        • Women  = marriage about love
        • Men can do what they want in marriage
          • Mr Birling excuses Gerald's affair when talking to Sheila as he is thinking about what Gerald could do for the Birlings
      • women are like gems and trophies for men's pleasure
        • superficial view of women
      • men rational and women emotional creatures who are weak and fragile and have to be told to 'run along'
    • Character
      • Mr Birling
        • For him masculinity is defined by selfishness
          • men have important work to do and need to look after themselves
          • family is an after-thought as the phrase 'and his family' comes after the need for men to look after themself
      • Mrs Birling
        • Even though she is a woman, views women of proletariat as inferior to bourgeoisie
          • women like children - gender used to reveal upper class snobbery
      • Sheila
        • Female gender = submissive and just wanting to please men
          • her wishes are secondary to her husbands
        • Despite passive nature - progressive view of women
          • accepts responsibilty for her part in Eva's death
          • women more than cheap labour
      • Gerald
        • women as a commodity to own and give pleasure
        • shows consequences of lust
    • Context
    • Quotes
      • "Girls of that class" Mrs Birling
      • "run along"
      • "Young, fresh and charming" Gerald abut Eva
        • women something to amuse men
        • adjective 'fresh' dehumanises women. like food when stale and old can be disgarded
      • " A man has to make his own way...has to look after himself...and his family too" Mr Birling
      • she was pretty and a good sport
      • Men have important work to do
      • " I speak as a hard-headed practical man of business


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