Saturday, 7 March 2015

Fire in the Chimney - Gender Roles

I have decided to look at chapter 16, Fire in the Chimney and analyse it while using the topic of gender roles.

The chapter starts with the writer talking about Pa. She describes Pa as having to go into the 'Big Woods' to cut Hay and then cure it. A typical job for a man to do as it would have been labour intensive. But on the Prairie he didn't have to. Laura Ingalls Wilder is writing that her father would work throughout the summer to try and keep his family alive in the winter. Collecting Hay, Wood and Meat to they could live to see the next.

While Pa was hunting for meats and pelts the 3 girls and Ma where inside the house. Ma was looking after the baby and singing to her. The house then catches on fire. Although her mother tells her not to do anything Laura saves her two sisters from burning alive. Although she was told by her mother to stay away she disobeyed her mothers orders. For a child, especially a daughter to do this would have been a big deal within the American society and would have gone against the idea that young women were meant to follow orders. She also puts herself in danger which would have been something that women at this time would have maybe  been scared to do ( Mary doesn't move from the rocking chair even though the house is falling down around her)

Pa has to go into town, which as the writer had perviously stated takes two days to get there. This commitment to going into town to get his family the essentials to make his families life better. A fathers role in the house is to provide for his family no matter how hard they must try. 40 miles on a horse takes two days and it is said that he is going often. This shows a commitment on Pa behalf in trying to keep his family alive and together.

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