Gender Roles in "The Tree of Red Stars".

Essay by salamandrinaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2002

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Gender Roles in "The Tree of Red Stars" Researched critcal essay on views of gender in Latin American lit, specifically "The Tree of Red Stars. Includs bibliography. MLA format

Gender roles are a major point of interest in modern literature. The way men and women act and interact, as well as their characterizations can set a mood, and era, or give some insight into the novel itself. Authors can choose traditional roles, or allow themselves the freedom to break new ground. Tree of Red Stars author Tessa Bridal placed her characters firmly within traditional gender roles in order to both delineate the culture in which the story is set, and to add some depth to Magda's character.

In her critical study The Fiction of Sex, Rosalind Miles lays out some of the attributes of traditional masculine and feminine roles. For women, these attributes include: sensitivity, insight into relationships, perception of details, submission or resignation to their life, subjectivity, and involvement.

Masculine traits include: brutality, the ability to dominate, detachment, and objectivity (34). In Tree of Red Stars, these traits are seen in many of the characters. Both Marco and Magda fall into these stereotypes, from the beginning of the novel. Magda, as narrator, definitely has a feminine view of the world. She pays attention to the details, and very often has insights into relationships and situations that appear to be beyond her years. Marco, on the other hand, continually hides his emotions from Magda, leaving her unsure of where she stands in his heart. When we are first introduced to Marco, we have Magda presenting us with her very detailed description "He was so handsome that he intimidated me...I knew only that in Marco Aurelio Pereira's presence I felt inadequate and plain."(Bridal 86-87). Later in that...