"The Two:" A Look at the Woman-to-Woman Bond and Its Effect on Traditional Gender Roles. Written about "The Two," a chapter from Gloria Naylor's "The Women of Brewster Place".

Essay by starrynights48University, Bachelor'sA+, March 2006

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The bond that women share has always been a mystery, surpassing any other type of relationship. Throughout history, there have been many Thelma and Louises or Betty and Wilmas. It's a cohesive connection that goes beyond a comprehensive definition. However, when this type of relationship is perceived as lesbianism, the traditional gender role belief system is threatened and this can often lead to negative outcomes.

It's evident how the close bond between women threatens traditional gender roles. In the story, two women move into Brewster Place: timid, feminine Lorraine and confident, aggressive Theresa. Once it's out that these new, seemingly flawless neighbors are actually lesbians, the community is divided and violence soon follows. Theresa and Lorraine's relationship falls in disrepair shortly before Lorraine is brutally raped and, as she's reeling in the aftermath, kills the only man who protected the two from the others, Ben.

The trouble all begins with Sophie, a "willing carrier" of the rumor that had "first spread through the block like a sour odor that's only faintly perceptible and easily ignored until it starts growing in strength from the dozen mouths it had been lying in" (Naylor 2544).

Sophie is one of the biggest obstacles the girls will face throughout the text, making their business her business:

[indent]Since Sophie's apartment windows faced theirs from across the air shaft, she became the official watchman for the block... [she] took her position seriously and was constantly alert for any telltale signs that might creep out around the drawn shades, across from which she kept a religious vigil (2545).[/indent]

She even goes so far as to dig through their garbage and interrogates Ben, the only one to go inside their apartment. She fed the community vague stories, leaving them to "stitch all of their secret fears and...