Defining Gender Roles And Consequences In The Fairytale World
?A soldier came marching down the road: Left . . . right! Left . . . right! He had a pack on his back and a sword at his side. He had been in the war and was on his way home.? (pg. 1)
?Once upon a time there was a woman whose only desire was to have a tiny little child.? (pg. 29)
The opening lines from The Tinderbox and Inchelina demonstrate that in the world of Andersen?s fairytales, gender is represented with a very clear distinction between masculine and feminine roles. The rules of the fairytale require both male and female characters to make a journey or maturation into adulthood that ends when they marry and start a family of their own, but the rules of how that journey is accomplished differ greatly based on gender. The roles played by each are specific, and there tends to be severe consequences involved whenever a character behaves contrary to their assigned role.
Andersen depicts the masculine role as one of action. The goal at the end of his journey is to settle down with a wife and children, often in financial circumstances above where he began.
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