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“The Great Leapfrog Race” - An Essay on gender and class role expectations

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Introduction

"The Great Leapfrog Race" An Essay on gender and class role expectations The world is made up of many different people. Each of these individuals fall into a category, whether it be judged by their gender, the sports they play or the bands they listen to. For each different class, we have certain expectations for the people in them. The story, 'The Great Leapfrog Race' both reflects and challenges gender and class expectations. 'The Great Leapfrog Race', goes against the patriarchal western view that men are superior to women. The idea that men are the dominant force has been widely accepted in civilized cultures, and has only now, over the past couple of decades, has it been challenged. In 'The Great Leapfrog Race', this is reflected when the female, Rosie, beats the male, Rex, in a game of leapfrog. It is repeated again when the author writes that 'Rosie whipped every boy she fought'. This shows that she is the superior of the group, and so is the dominant force. However this does not mean that the boys accept it. The story reads that 'it was very humiliating to be hurt by Rosie', and so the reader assumes that these boys have been brought up with the patriarchal view that men are superior to women. ...read more.

Middle

The story also says that they lived in 'slum neighbourhood's which are often portrayed as the beginning for much violence and crime. Society perceives children from working class families as being able to hold themselves, and being streetwise. Kids from the slums learn from a young age that this is the sort of world they are going to live in for the rest of their lives. These are the children more likely to shoplift and break into houses because their parents' jobs do not provide for them as well. Girls from these sort of neighbourhoods are expected to be dirty and impolite, whereas middle class girls would turn their nose up at such antics as playing 'leapfrog' and would much prefer play with their Barbie dolls than play with a group of filthy little boys. It would be a contradiction of our class expectations for Rosie to be concerned over her appearance or how many kids Barbie and Ken have, because of her status as a working class girl. This story reflects societies views on class expectations of the working class, by letting Rosie be a tough little girl, not someone socially adept or worried over how long her nails were, but only interested in rough and tumble 'tomboyish' activities as is expected for working class girls. ...read more.

Conclusion

The background of the reader influences whether you sympathise with Rosie or Rex in the story. The readers' views on certain issues including women in politics and equal rights can have an impact on their reading of the story. By leaving gaps in the storyline, the person reading the story is left to make assumptions based on their knowledge and experiences and so each reader will most probably read the story differently, therefore, each person reading it will have their background somewhere influencing their thoughts on the subject. This demonstrates how each person's individual views reflect societies opinions through the story. 'The Great Leapfrog Race' is a very interesting story about a little Irish tomboy, working class child named Rosie Mahoney. It tells the story of a little girl who beats the new kid-on-the-block, big bully Rex Folger, in a game called leapfrog. But the story isn't as simple as that. It also has a deeper meaning. It reflects society. Societies attitudes towards different people, from different classes and genders. It challenges the patriarchal ideology by letting female triumph over male. It uses all sorts of techniques to make the reader see that not everything that society sets out in it's unofficial guidelines are correct. Roles can be reversed and women can prevail over men in many circumstances. This story reflects as well as challenges society views on gender and class role expectations. ...read more.

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