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Analyse "Giving a Little Dinner Party" from a gender perspective

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Introduction

"Giving a little dinner party" The text "Giving a little dinner party" represents gender in a very specific way. The female gender is represented as submissive, and the male gender is represented as dominant, as is common within a patriarchal society, which is typically male dominated. This text is written by a woman, which is surprising as the general register of the text is commanding and bossy, which does not relate to the message which she is trying to give about gender in her instructions on how to give a dinner party. The first feature which really stands out in the text is the use of the adjective "little" in the title and throughout the text. The lexeme itself is diminutive, and it is also an empty adjective. This implies already that the dinner party is an easy to manage, fun event to host. However it is patronising, and as it is placed at the beginning of the article, it makes the reader feel patronised early on into the article. ...read more.

Middle

This would be outdated in modern times, however at the time that this article was written it was obvious that people would sit according to their importance, which would perhaps be judged by wealth. The adjective "chief" when used within the adjective - noun phrase "chief man" has strong connotations of the man being a leader and of him having power over the rest of the guests at the party at that time. It also goes on to state "sits at his hostess's left hand". The possessive determiner "his" is used to state that the hostess is owned by him, which reduces her to a possession which is under ownership of her husband. This implies very strongly that the man should have power over the woman. The noun "maid" connotes that the target audience of this recipe would have been wealthy, and it would be assumed that you would have a maid to participate in events such as throwing a dinner party. It is also exclusively female, which connotes that it should be female servants who serve the more important male counterparts who are eating at the dinner party. ...read more.

Conclusion

The imperative "arrange" is used at the beginning of a sentence, which makes it seem instructional and almost as though it is the most important part. The imperative "seat" is used in the sentence "sea the most important lady", which also adds to the author's instructional register and makes the reader almost feel patronised, again. This is surprising that the author is so authoritative, when she is making it clear in the text that women are the ones who are supposed to follow orders. However the target audience of this text would have been women, so it still keeps the woman's position in society the same. The noun "cook" is used on the presumption that we assume that the cook is a woman. "...capabilities of the cook, whoever she be" The use of the pronoun "she" makes it clear that the author assumes that the person doing the cooking at the party would be a woman. The term cook is not a professional term, and therefore it makes it seem more home-friendly. This ties in yet again with the patriarchal society, with the woman staying at home cooking and cleaning. ...read more.

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