Presentation on theme: "By: Titus Ong Zhao Jin Qing Teo Po Han Jonathan Quek."— Presentation transcript:
By: Titus Ong Zhao Jin Qing Teo Po Han Jonathan Quek
Contents Characters + analysis Themes in the story (Feminism Vs Patriarchy) Story analysis
Characters Iris- the narrator and protagonist Robert- the protagonist’s brother Mother Dad Angie- protagonist’s cousin Ellie- maid Linda- protagonist’s secretary Alex- protagonist’s boyfriend
Iris 29 years old From NUS Has a boyfriend named Alex Working
High career status “… my secretary…” pg. 2o6 Rich boyfriend Alex: “fiddling with his Armani tie” pg. 207 Armani- designer brand “ten years since I last took a bus… take a taxi” pg. 207
Theoretical (likes to give reasons for something) “I have a theory. Well, two” pg. 201 “My second theory explains why…” pg. 208
Robert 26 years old America University Single Working
Not as smart as sister “got only two A’s and two O’s… couldn’t get into the university here, so he went to America” pg. 202 Yet his sister got into NUS Pampered by parents “Mum smiled at her growing boy” pg. 201 He’s getting a paunch, pg. 203 (i.e. eats a lot) “the red sports car Dad bought him” pg. 202
Normal employee (white collar) “at an office party” pg. 204 Influenced by westernization “accent and hair, slightly browned from the Californian sun and a recent perm and highlight job” pg. 203 Sports car, blonde girlfriend, American accent, pg. 204 “Sex is what Robert believes in” pg. 204
Mother Little education Around 55 years old Housewife
Smart but received little education “never went to university… did well in the exams” pg. 202 Traditional In marriage “Which man wants a woman who is as smart as he is?” pg. 202 “Better learn to cook properly” pg. 202 “by the time she was my age, she had had both me and Robert” pg. 205
Traditional Prefers sons to daughters “Girls should stay at home and from the start, the funds had been set aside for Robert” pg. 203 “What do you want for dessert, son?” pg. 203 (asks her son but not to her daughter) “Then Mum would put more food on his plate” pg. 205
Angie 31 years old Single Close to Iris
Health conscious, but does not care as much “can’t resist the things which are bad for her” pg. 203 “dipped the chicken heavily into the saucer of chilli” pg. 203 Cheerful “Angie can always make me laugh” pg. 203
Themes of the story Feminism vs. patriachy Male Female Receive more education than women Receive less education than men Works and financially support the family Housewife as an adult Parents biased to themParents biased against them
But Iris is a modern women. - She have a career - She thinks that men and women should be treated equally
Comparison of gender inequalities.(Food) Robert “waved the empty bowl in the air”. This creates the image of him eating a lot and continuing to eat When Robert rudely yells at the waitress for more food, his mother “smiles at her growing boy…” and “nods” approvingly to her husband. we can assume that the narrator means that he is growing sideways and getting plumper, and that his mother happily accepts that. She later also encourages them to eat dessert. The mother is the one who asks, “What do you want for dessert, son?” Notice that she asks her son Robert, not her daughter Iris. After interrogating her daughter’s late- night outing and her date, “Mom would put more food on his plate”. Clear double standard in treating her son and her daughter – indulgence towards Robert; strict discipline towards Iris.
For women… Description of Angie having lunch with the narrator Iris (Narrative voice is Iris – so this is from Iris’s point of view): “Angie dipped the chicken heavily into the saucer of chilli. Thirty- one and still getting pimples but she can’t resist the things which are bad for her. She says it and then spoons in fragrant, oily rice. Hope it stops before the wrinkles come.” Notice the carefulness of women’s eating. Instead of being of careless and greedy like the males, women are extremely careful about what they eat as it affects their body. They are conscious they are of what they eat. Also notice that the scene is described in detail (“details such as the chilli, the “oily rice”, “skin and fatty pieces”), and that the opinion shows the narrator’s point of view (“Thirty-one and still getting pimples but she can’t resist the things which are bad for her.”). This shows that (1) they are conscious in trying to repel the negative effects of the food they eat, and (2) the narrator’s internalization of gender norms.
Shows the relative liberty of men as compared to women It could be a symbol of freedom of men versus women. However, we see that the men abuse their freedom, and effectively waste their freedom on banal things detrimental to them. (In this case, it is physical and takes the form of obesity.) Women on the other hand, are restricted by society’s expectations. As a result they have their freedom limited.
Gender inequality in attitude towards sexuality: “Sex is what Robert believes in.” He “got drunk at an office party and asked a client’s manager if she wanted to go somewhere and screw.” Men can’t seem to get enough of sex; have insatiable sexual appetite; are greedy for sexual satisfaction The case of molestation: Man on bus molests woman. Linda: “He molests me. He leans and brushes against me if I stand and if I get a seat, he rubs against my shoulder.” Men as sexual aggressors. Women – passive / tolerant / victimized. “Angie warns me he’s a wolf, a buaya. Gets you into bed and then bye-bye.” Men want sex but are unwilling to commit to long-term relationship
This shows that men are deemed “sexually superior” by the society. Women tend to be the submissive ones and give in to men.
Feminism in the story (Iris) Iris is well aware of the gender biases and discrimination she is subject to. She knows “why mothers tell their daughters that if they eat the last piece of food, they’ll be spinsters. They do this because they want their sons to eat more, to grow bigger. Or maybe because they want to teach their daughters that it’s their place, their duty, to give way to men.” Although she is conscious of gender biases, she does not fight back. Instead, she seems to have largely accepted the double standard in her family and in society. In the story, she never openly questions or challenges the existing status quo.
Not only that she obeys her mother and tolerates gender inequality in her household, she has, to a certain extent, internalized such patriarchal double standards, and even uses the same yardstick to judge other women and measure herself. Iris is not a liberated woman – she continues to succumbs to the “male gaze”: She is overly concerned with diet and body image: “I take mine [chicken rice] without chilli” for she wants to prevent fat from going “straight to my thighs”. She “orders breast meat, shun the skin and fatty pieces and pretend that will make up for it.” She judges her female friend’s appearance: “Thirty-one and still getting pimples.” As a result, women, along with men, play the role of perpetuating the pervasive system of gender oppression.
Society expects women to conform to the roles that society has assigned to them. For example in the story. Iris’s mother expresses genuine concern that Iris is not married by the age of 30 and she finds that very worrying, probably due to her traditional beliefs that women should get married at a very young age. However, Iris holds a reasonably high position in the company which she works in (seeing as how she has a secretary), she still falls for Alex and when he makes the smug comment about a buffet being a good symbol of equality