Gender Roles and Binaries in Julianna Baggott’s Pure (Deanne B. and Laura M.)

Julianna Baggott’s novel Pure, challenges normative understandings of the gender binary by creating an America where desolation has forced the remainder of civilization to fight for survival, while simultaneously reinforcing it through the privileged lives of the Pure. For the Pure who reside in the Dome, gender roles and binaries are strictly enforced through the separation of women and men into differing fields of study and roles of importance. While those who reside outside, fend for their lives and safety no matter their gender. Through the critique of the differing forms of gender roles and binarism present within the Dome’s society and the contrasting enforcement found within the outside culture, this blog post will determine how gender roles negatively affect the ways in which girl’s construct their social, and private self.

Baggott’s utilization of the gender binary in her depiction of the Dome’s society helps to contrast the survivors on the outside’s lack of gender roles and instead focuses on their will to survive; enforcing that the gender binary itself is a construct used to control its civilization. By keeping the women of the Dome, complacent and ‘weak’ – focused on arts, and childrearing – they have less of an opportunity to be heard, or take part in society (Baggott 57-58). Within the Dome, women are specifically used for their reproductive capabilities and their brains. Whilst the men are used for their physical capabilities, which are enhanced to make them even stronger than usual (Baggott 14). Baggott’s choice to have the men of the Dome coded to be strong and fast, while the women usefulness is founded in their reproductive capabilities, reinforces hegemonic masculinity, “the pattern of practice (i.e., things done…) that allowed men’s dominance over women” (Connell 832). While furthering to show that women are not meant to work ‘real-life’ jobs, “I’ve heard they don’t let the boys take art, only things that have real-life applications, like science” (Baggott 61).

Baggott’s novel is influential to young adult girls as it depicts Pure women as reproductive entities first, before seeing them as brains. In her article, From Girlhood, Girls, to Girls’ Studies: The Power of Text, Dawn H. Currie explores the representation of girlhood within text to discover how girls construct their identities, “commercial interests [are] major players in normalizing societal expectations about what it means to be a woman and, by extension, to be a girl” (19). The novel, further reinforces negative ideals through the ‘imprisonment’ of Lyda within the rehabilitation facility because she is thought to be mentally unstable due to what they believe is a lie. In short, Lyda is segregated as a form of punishment, her hair is cut off, and she is interrogated, often through the insinuation that she is lying because she is in cahoots with Partridge (Baggott 97-101, 171).

Baggott’s decision to have Pure set in America allows her young adult reader to find themselves while learning their place in society (Day 12). Baggott is able to challenge the gender roles present within our current society by pushing them to the extreme in her creation of the Dome’s culture and and the civilization outside of it. YA dystopian literature present young women as agents of change (Day 7), Baggot does the same through her two main female characters. Baggott has Lyda and Pressia react against the sexism in their lives rather than let it overtake them. Young girls reading this will not only see themselves in these two female characters, and agree with what the characters are thinking, but they will also be influenced into rebelling against similar systems of thought present within our society. In the Dome, while men go through coding sessions, girls are not coded due to “too much fear of damaging their reproductive organs, which is more important than enhancing their minds or bodies” (Baggott 323).  Baggott offers the reader the opportunity to disagree with the Dome’s gender binary that women’s worth is founded in their reproductive organs. Baggott wants her young adult readers to know that women are more than their bodies; that they deserve the right to enhance their minds. Further, girls in the Dome are expected to marry, which further reinforces the idea that women’s importance is based on their reproductive capabilities. Baggott illustrates this through Ellery Willux’s plan for Lyda to marry his son Partridge. However, Lyda is resistance to Willux’s plan, stating that she does not need to marry Partridge (Baggott 326). Here Lyda openly disagrees with the social norm that her worth is based on her marrying a man.

Meanwhile, the women outside the Dome have learned how to scavenge and fight for their survival in the deadly world they reside. However, Pressia still experiences gender roles. Baggott specifically critiques the common ideology that women belong in the kitchen through Ingership’s belief that since Pressia is a girl she longs to see a proper kitchen. Pressia, focused solely on her survival, is disgusted at this assumption (Baggott 243). Pressia’s instinct to survive is more potent than her want to reside within a kitchen due to the lack of gender socialization within her world. To her, survival is more important than adhering to old gender roles. In this instance, Pressia is forced to play along in order to survive her present situation. By having Pressia respond this way, Baggott shows that when young girls adhere to expected gender roles it is not always by choice, rather they are fulfilling a role they are expected to perform or need to perform to navigate society.

Julianna Baggott’s Pure may reinforce gender roles and binaries upon its characters, but young adult girls reading are given the opportunity to form their own opinions against common gender norms. Baggott’s representations of girlhood found in Pressia and Lyda’s life experiences show that others force the gender roles and binaries they experience upon them. Therefore, Pressia and Lyda’s rebellion and dismissal of normative ideologies creates a discourse for young adult girls to join and hopefully rebel against in their own societies.

 

Works Cited

Baggott, Julianna. Pure. Grand Central Publishing, 2013.

Connell, R. W. “Hegemonic Masculinity: Rethinking the Concept.” Gender & Society, vol. 19, no. 6, 6 Dec. 2005, pp. 829–859. doi:10.1177/0891243205278639.

Currie, Dawn H. From Girlhood, Girls, to Girls’ Studies: The Power of Text. Edited by Clare Bradford and Mavis Reimer, Waterloo, ON, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2015.

Day, Sara; Green-Barteet, Miranda; and Montz, Amy. Introduction: From “New Woman” to “Future Girl”: The Roots and the Rise of the Female Protagonist in Contemporary Young Adult Dystopias. Routledge, 2016.

Discussion Questions

Does the resistance against gender roles and binarism within Baggott’s plot influence the chances of young adults, specifically young women, rebelling against society’s strict gender roles? Or does resistance to these roles only exist within a fictional post-apocalyptic or dystopian world?

In the case of this novel, would you agree that there is privilege in safety? How is this reproduced in society today? Could Baggott have represented this better, and therefore created a better social commentary?

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Gender Roles and Binaries in Julianna Baggott’s Pure (Deanne B. and Laura M.)

  1. I like your point about the Dome’s role in exposing that the gender binary is merely a social construct. While Pressia and Lyda bear some similarities, such as their creativity, they otherwise lead very different lives. Pressia fights and survives just as the men do, but inside the Dome, Lyda is limited to classes on rearing children, the arts, and other stereotypically “girly” subjects. In a land where society has collapsed, so too do arbitrary gender roles – that’s a meaningful aspect of the novel that I hadn’t considered before.

    However, I don’t agree with your point that Pure negatively reinforces gender roles in its portrayal of the Dome. Depicting a concept is not the same as endorsing it, and I think that through the Dome, Pure interrogates gender roles which exist in modern society. Lyda and Partridge are aware of the fact that they must learn different subjects as boys and girls for no solid reason, and Lyda becomes irritated when Partridge’s father asks her whether or not she’s able to get pregnant, as if that’s her sole purpose in life. In acknowledging that these gender roles are unreasonable and have no good reason for existing, the novel prompts young female readers to question why such roles exist in their own world. Furthermore, once Lyda leaves the Dome, she is able to help El Capitan and Bradwell fight and chooses to rebel with Pressia and Partridge. This proves to young female readers that Lyda never lacked strength; she was merely being held back by her limiting society. The purpose of the Dome is not to tell Pure’s target audience how they ought to behave, but rather how ridiculous it is that their own society sends them similar messages.

    Like

  2. I like the way you differentiate the different gender norms and relationships inside- and outside of the dome. The way gender roles are strictly reinforced inside the dome could in a way be a reflection of our society, whereas the ‘survival’ roles that are portrayed on the outside might be an analogy for a true ‘apocolyptic’ world. Another thing I noticed while reading the novel is the way Partridge takes on his masculine and protecting role the moment he finds out he might be related to Pressia. In this behavior, the difference between Partridge’s and Bradwell’s background is made even more clearly; Bradwell has always seen Pressia as somewhat ‘equal’, whereas Partridge feels the need to ‘protect’ Pressia, even though he knows she is stronger and has more experience than him. I found this extemely interesting, because it showed that Partridge felt he was supposed to show this type of behavior, and that he was supposed to protect the ‘weak women’. Furthermore, it was interesting to read how Pressia dealt with this situation, clearly stating how she didn’t need his help, rather he needed hers. By portraying Pressia as strong, independent, and experienced, Baggott somewhat challenges gender norms and shows a refreshing female protagonist. The contrast between Partridge’s protective desires, and Pressia’s lack of need shows a different outlook on male/female relationships.

    Like

  3. Deanne and Laura, I like the attention you’ve drawn to Baggott’s portrayal of stereotypical gender roles, and agree that she has provided a mechanism for young women to develop a critical lens for their own lives. However, I also agree with Christine in saying that I do not believe Baggott reinforces the gender binary to young reader through her descriptions of women’s lives “under the dome”. Christine makes the great point that “depicting a concept is not the same as endorsing it”, and I think this is key in understanding Baggott’s representation of gender roles in her novel. Deconstructing gender roles in a YA text is extremely difficult when considering that the novel’s audience could be as young as 12 or 13 years old, and likely do not have a nuanced understanding of how gender shapes the world around them. In this way, while you say that Baggott “offers the readers the opportunity to disagree with the Dome’s gender binary”, I think that she provides a more complicated criticism than just an exaggerated, obviously undesirable reality. Her depiction of hegemonic masculinity in the dome, alongside women’s lack of choice in their reproductive rights serve to illustrate a reality that many young women will face in their lives.

    In this way, I do not believe Baggott’s point is to give a terrible reality and have readers know that it’s “bad”, and then have them “be influenced into rebelling against similar systems of thought present within our society.” A critical point of Baggott’s reality is the examination of the consequences female characters face for their rebellion; and while this may inspire contemplation about rebellion, I do not think this would directly inspire rebellion by young adult readers. Instead, I think it provides a framework for understanding societal reactions to rebellion, and therefore at best, would lead to a better understanding of the systems of oppression that exist in the reader’s society.

    Like

  4. I felt that your argument was very well thought out and made me think of the novel in a way I hadn’t before. In your thesis, you said that although the novel challenges traditional gender binaries, in the outside world, it simultaneously reinforces those norms through the world inside the Dome. I understand your point, and it is definitely valid, but I would have to agree with Christine’s point and say that in having Lyda in particular be arguably the more rebellious girl, Baggot demonstrates how girls can rebel against what they know to be wrong. Having Lyda think independently and powerfully is very impactful and arguably does not negatively reinforce gender roles within the Dome. The Pure don’t know what the outside world is like, and without being able to remember the before makes it a construct in the sense that they can only imagine what it is like, since they can’t talk about it. Similar to Delirium, the Pure were trained to believe that this is the only life there is. Even in classes, the teachers are not allowed to discuss history for they will be reprimanded if they do. I think that by having Lyda and Partridge seek the world outside, and question life in the Dome, it makes clear to the young adult reader that this is not the way things really are. In a way, this is also a play on the way the media in today’s society constructs gender. Young girls see their celebrity idols only in a very carefully constructed and made up manner, through the television or computer screen. In those instances, it is clear that the way they look is simply a constructed ideal, because no one really looks, or acts like that, on a daily basis. This brings in your first discussion question, and I think that, Lyda’s resistance especially would influence young women to rebel against their strict gender roles. Although fictional, I do think that if young women read this book and understood the concepts that Baggott is dealing with and critiquing, it would open them up to believe in themselves and learn that they don’t have to stick to playing with dolls, for example.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I want to address your second discussion question, as I think it draws on a really important point about privilege that needs to be discussed. I would absolutely agree that their is privilege in safety. Often, the way to get safety, which I’d define as basic access to food, shelter, and clothing, is through privilege. The people in the Dome were able to secure spots there because of their standing in society as the elite – the most successful of citizens in a hetero capitalist white able-bodied patriarchal society. They were the “right” kind of citizen, and therefore deserving of being saved, as opposed to those who did not fit the ideal, and were left to die. Then, not only do the privileged get saved, but their safety gets them access to things beyond basic needs of survival. Beyond even being saved, those in the Dome come to regard those outside as “wretches”, dirty, insane, primitive people who are beneath them and their civility. The wretches then become unworthy of saving. This is reproduced in society in a number of ways, one only needs to look at the barriers certain identities pose to successful citizenship. To be a valued citizen, one must always be producing for the state – this is predicated, however, on the ability to produce; if you’re not able-bodied, for example, you no longer become valuable, can no longer afford basic needs, and are no longer safe from poverty/homelessness/etc. The idea that successful citizens then think of homeless people, for example, as beneath them, can be seen in the way people are hesitant to give them money, because they “want to know where the money is going”. Regardless if a homeless person uses the money for drugs or not (as this is what these statements are often implying), do they not also deserve monetary access to food, and even drugs, which may keep them from catastrophic withdrawal? We view homeless drug addicts as less human, unworthy of saving because of their “bad choice” to do drugs, without acknowledging how addiction takes root because of trauma and poverty, which is often, in these cases, perpetuated by the state. This then is similar to the “wretches”, who are deemed unworthy because of their supposed insanity and barbaric ways, when the way they survive was forced upon them by their government – their situation has put them at risk for numerous physical and social dangers rather than their individual choices. I think the only way Baggott could have represented this better, and created a better social commentary, is by explaining more about who got into the Dome and why – and why exactly the Dome can’t share resources with the outside world. We get tidbits of this information, when Bradwell comments on the how wealth saved those who got into the Dome, but intersections of race, gender, ability, etc. aren’t explicitly touched upon. Why for example, is everyone in the Dome able to get their sustenance from pills alone – how difficult would it be to share these pills with those outside who do not have much access to food? By answering these questions Baggott may have had a more effective critique of privilege and safety.

    Like

  6. I would agree with your point that the world of Pure depicts gender binaries in such a way that the female characters are able to rebel against them to encourage readers to examine restrictive stereotypes in their own world. I think this is especially important when you consider how similar the world within the dome is to historical (and current) versions of our own. It still very common that girls are encouraged into the arts while boys are encouraged into STEM and that boys and girls are taught different relationships with their bodies (men that they can use theirs for dominance and women that they are meant for reproduction). It is interesting, and probably educational, to see Lyda question the structures of her society which is too similar to our own for comfort. The unstructured world of the outside is a particularly interesting experiment in itself because with survival at the forefront of everyone’s mind, there is no room for structured gender binaries. I think this is also an important dynamic to depict as it allows for a space where the female characters are respected by male characters and can engage in any behaviour without questions or judgements about adhering to norms. I agree this space is an important contrast to examine and interrogate the restrictions of the system within the dome.
    I would argue though that the more problematic part of this reading is that it suggests a post-apocalyptic world is the only one in which there can be true gender equality. It is discouraging to suggest that in order for gender binaries and stereotypes to be broken, every single system running our current society would have to literally be blown up. I think the most unfortunate connotation of any of these books that depict a “post-gender” dystopian society is that we cannot achieve gender equality until some horrific event tears the world (and its systems) apart.
    For the purposes of young readers, though, I think you are right and the depiction of these strong female characters rebelling against the rigid gender expectations of the dome and pre-detonation society can be inspiring. Hopefully so inspiring that it does not take an apocalypse to reach gender equality.

    Like

  7. Your post about gender binaries and roles and how they differ between within the Dome and outside the dome really emphasizes society’s role in constructing binaries as well as highlights their artificial nature. While reading your post as well as the comments that followed, my thoughts had a tangent nature. I was thinking that perhaps the differences we see in gender binaries – who in particular exemplifies and expects them in the novel – is also a commentary on time and change, highlighting the difference in perspective among generations. I found that male characters of the older generation – Pressia’s grandfather, Ellery Willux, Ingership – are more inclined to expect women to fall into gender binaries and act in a submissive and domestic manner, while male characters of a younger generation – Bradwell, Partridge – give more credit to women and their agency. This divide between generations, with the younger male generation’s positive behavior towards women and their expected roles, points towards a more progressive note.
    In Pure, male characters of the older generation had a tendency to expect women to fall into their gendered roles: being submissive, obedient, domestic, and a silent part of the private sphere. Ellery Willux clearly establishes his stance on women and power via his involvement with the genetic coding (given only to males) as well as through his conversation with Lyda. In this conversation, Willux makes it clear that he sees women as romantic and marriage driven creatures whose value lies solely in their reproductive potential. Similarly, Ingership forces the concepts of the Feminine Feminists onto his wife, expecting graceful untarnished beauty, obedience, and adeptness and interest in the kitchen. As well, through his dismissal of Lyda and Pressia by stating that “The girls will wait in the parlour” (Baggott 414), he clearly emphasizes that he does not believe women should have a part in discussing important matters or delving into the public sphere. Pressia’s grandfather’s adherence to gender roles is less obvious than Willux’s and Ingership’s. However, in his mentioning of Kepperness still owing him a debt (despite the falsehood of the statement), it seems as if he is trying to firmly establish his place in their household as contributor – because as the head male, he should be bringing home the money. As well, Pressia’s grandfather’s concern for Pressia’s wellbeing at night and his attempts to dissuade her from scavenging, indicates that he perceives Pressia to be fragile and dainty. Despite the fact that Pressia has lived her life in hard circumstances and has consequentially gathered a certain toughness and know-how, he still firmly tries to impede her, which differs in the manner the younger generation treat her. Perhaps I am reading too much into the details but I find that overall, the men of the older generations in this book generally tend to adhere to and expect gender roles.
    Contrastingly, Bradwell and Partridge are more open-minded about girls having power and straying from the domestic image society has constructed for them. Both of them are comfortable with the female grasp for agency and see it as the norm when Lyda and Pressia refuse to be dismissed from the conversation: Well what? They gave you their answer. (Baggott 414) Similarly, both Bradwell and Partridge recognize Pressia to be a survivalist – tough and able – and though they feel protective and concerned for her well-being, these emotions stem from affection rather than an intrinsic belief that women are weak and physically inept. Partridge’s narrative clearly highlights his perception of Pressia’s ability and strength: “But Pressia is tough, and Partridge knows it.” (Baggott 331) Similarly, Bradwell’s inclusion of women into his secret group of Shadow Historians speaks to his inclusion of women into the public sphere.
    Through a comparison of these characters and their perceptions and attitudes towards gender binaries, it seems that Julianna Baggott is also making a social commentary on how different generations and the time gap may effect social perceptions and binary adherence, pointing society into a more progressive direction.

    Like

    1. I think your addition to this argument regarding how the different generations of men have divided expectations of women is very valuable. It is interesting to see how the grandfather’s protectiveness over Pressia and Bradwell and Partridge’s protectiveness differs. Like you said about Bradwell and Partridge, “though they feel protective and concerned for her well-being, these emotions stem from affection rather than an intrinsic belief that women are weak and physically inept”. In contrast, the grandfather does not appear to see Pressia as capable of looking after herself in the outside world. Despite the fact that the grandfather is much weaker physically, he insists on sitting by the door with his brick while Pressia must hide in her cupboard, weaponless.

      Another character that should be considered is El Capitan. El Capitan places value on physical strength and one’s ability to survive, and initially, he is suspicious of Pressia, saying “I never got orders like this before – to take some runt and send ‘em up to officer, just like that. And a girl at that” (207). Before El Capitan knows what Pressia is capable of, he is confused as to why a girl would be given such a promotion, indicating that he has a pre-conceived notion of the physical capabilities (or lack thereof) of females. However, once he realizes that he can respect Pressia for her bravery and strength, he is prepared to help her with her plans, and as Pressia says, “she wouldn’t have made it without him” (268). He also respects Lyda for the “ferocity in her eyes” and her willingness to die for a chance at escaping the Special Forces (389). He also does not question her request for a knife, and it’s good that he doesn’t, because it is Lyda and her knife that kills the soldier that El Capitan and Helmud are struggling with. His belief in the girls is emphasized when he does not agree with Ingership’s opinion that the girls should not be included in their discussions and should wait in the parlor. El Capitan is an example of a character who respects people based on his own terms, and does not let his pre-conceived ideas get in the way, unlike the men of the older generation.

      Like

  8. In regard to your second discussion question, I think the notion of safety for females both in the novel and in modern society is rather convoluted. Baggot depicts the Dome, for all its societal drawbacks, as a more favourable place to be than the outside from a survival standpoint; and she’s right, if we see safety simply as one of physical protection. For when in the Dome, females are for the most part physically protected, but are also subjected to discriminatory gender expectations which leaves them to be of minimal social use other than for reproduction. On the outside, Pressia is far less physically safe in having to deal with dangers including Death Sprees, Beasts and Dusts, but she is more psychologically free in not having to deal with the gendered expectations of the Dome. The gendered discrepancy in safety can be seen when Partridge, considering escaping the Dome, wonders if he’ll be able to survive “in the deadly environment among the violent wretches” (58). Though his safety is somewhat threatened in the Dome through procedures such as bugging, he is firmly placed above women on the Dome’s social hierarchy.
    The contrasting experience between conceptions of safety can be seen in modern society. When a female is verbally harassed in the workplace but to the disinterest of her supervisors, she is safe in the sense that she works within a well-built structure and has access to food, water and an authority figure. But in reality, there’s a constant threat of abuse brought upon by her harassers, who take away her ability to feel safe. So despite whether or not she is safe in the sense of physical protection, the psychological imprisonment this woman feels is not one of safety.

    Like

  9. I found your discussion of gender roles inside and outside of the Dome very interesting. But so what? Why is this important? What does this say about our society, specifically girlhood?

    I think if you are going to talk about gender roles and binaries in this way that you also have to talk about class. The treatment of female in terms of their ‘roles’ based on their social standing is very important. This behaviour has been ingrained in our society for generations, especially before the turn of the century.

    Women in the upper-class were educated, but not in the same subjects as men. And although they were educated, they were limited to the domestic or home ‘sphere’ and their main purpose was reproduction. This is representative of how women are treated in the Dome.

    However, women outside of the dome are treated like the working class. They are not as educated because they have to work in low paying jobs, which in this society is bartering and trading. Women have to scavenge for things to sell and trade, just like the men. They are not restricted from jobs based on their gender. Women’s focus is not having giving birth and having families but their focus is upon survival.

    Women outside of the Dome do not have the same gender roles as the people inside of the Dome because their circumstances, privileges, and expectations are different.

    Like

    1. Hi there briannabenton7,

      While writing this post we wanted to discuss the implications of class that are present within Baggott’s novel Pure, however by incorporating it we would need to discuss this in more length. By focussing solely on a few of the gender roles enforced upon Pressia and Lyda in their differing spheres we were able to contrast the changes in gender binaries present within this fictional world, and the implications they have to YA readers.
      I agree wholeheartedly that class and gender roles go hand-in-hand, however I would argue that within her novel Baggott has had the opportunity to create a discourse against normative gender role expectations so that young girls can construct their identities, and therefore girlhood, outside of or against social expectations. By depicting Pressia and Lyda’s form(s) of resistance within policed environments (i.e. Ingership’s home, The Dome) young girls can ‘see’ representations of resistance within transferable social settings. This gives them the opportunity to form their own agency and forms of resistance in their differing lives.
      The Dome is definitely a representation of the upper class versus the lower class outside of The Dome; however, each class has their own hierarchy as they both reside within differing spheres. Here we look at those, you can’t deconstruct gender roles solely within the bigger picture as their are a multitude of intersecting factors influencing the gendered roles the characters and people experience. In Pure, those outside of The Dome may be a representation of the lower class (they were not privileged to safety in The Dome) but i would argue that this is only true at face value. Once you delve deeper it becomes clear that outside of the Dome and within the Dome are two very differing cultures, with very different social constructions of gender.
      By contrasting the two civilizations forms of gender role enforcement we are able to look at the gender roles presented as a whole as well as closely examine the differing roles and expectations outside and inside the Dome. Gender roles and binaries cannot be paired with class solely to look at their implications on a macro-scale due to societies intricate hierarchies. If you want to discuss class and gender roles I am more than happy to. We can start with the questions we posed, which I think creates the perfect starting point for this discussion: “In the case of this novel, would you agree that there is privilege in safety? How is this reproduced in society today? Could Baggott have represented this better, and therefore created a better social commentary?”

      Like

  10. The purpose of many YA dystopian fiction, especially with female protagonists, is to critique issues that are present within our current society. Although the setting may seem hard to situate and relate ourselves to, the overall concept of this genre relies on the ability to unpack these binaries that are the foundation of society. The ways in which this resistance takes place in current society would clearly look a lot different. However, awareness is always the first step in resistance. Novels such as Pure help to educate girls on the issues that they might not have been aware of prior to reading the novel. When binaries are placed in an exaggerated version of society, the issues become a lot more relevant.

    In the novel, survival is considered safety. The people within the Dome have the privilege of safety. To ensure this safety, they sacrifice their agency. Outside of the Dome, to the Wretches, there is a different condition that essentially can be summed up as: learn to survive or die. It can be argued that Baggot’s use of survival relates to the notion that relates to class issues. To be upper class and reap the benefits of this class, one must have privilege. But with that privilege must come the idea of conforming to the standards that align with patriarchy – much like in the Dome.

    To relate the two discussion questions: the concept of survival is interesting. While survival to the extent in dystopian fiction is not directly relatable to society today, the concept plays an important role when dismantling gendered stereotypes. Pressia’s ability to survive and her priority to do so is a key factor when determining how she breaks gendered binaries.

    Like

  11. I like that you both decided to talk about gender stereotypes in this novel, because both Pressia and Partridge defy the stereotypical roles. Most of the novels in the Young Adult dystopian fiction genre have a targeted audience of 13-to-17-year-old, because they are the most influenced by society and media. If teenagers and young people are more exposed to characters and other people in society resisting traditional gender roles and binaries, they can be influenced to copy their models. Pressia sets up an image of herself that is mostly masculine; the doll head, however, contradicts her tough image. It forces her to confront the feminine and girlish object and accept it.

    You argue that the people who live in the Dome are privileged by being enclosed in safety. When looking at this from the perspective of the people outside, yes, they are. Looking at it from the side of the Dome, however, they are not. Everyone in the Dome loses agency, both the men and the women, by being forced to conform to traditional gender roles. Partridge’s mother helps him resist this, wanting him to keep his agency to think for himself. The only privilege they gain from being enclosed in the Dome is not being Fused with an object through the Detonations, creating a contrast with the people who were. In society today, this is reproduced by looking at upper-class families from the view of lower-middle and upper-middle class families; the upper-class may seem to be privileged, but they worked hard for it.

    Like

  12. I thought this was a well organized article that outlined the representation of the gender binary in the novel very well. In regards to privilege, I do believe that it exists in the safety of the dome, however I would argue that it is more applicable to the females of the Dome rather than the males. You mentioned how the boys were able to get physical and mental enhancements while the girls were not, but failed to mention the purpose of these coding sessions. In the Dome males and manipulated through the coding until they are barely recognizable as human, while the girls get to remain in safety. In this sense it is the girls who are experiencing the privilege of safety and not the boys. Neither situation is ideal, but at least the girls get to keep their minds. This would also point to why the girl in the rehabilitation center is capable of rebellion. Furthermore, gender roles were well explored outside of the dome but you did not mention the role of the good mother and her community of women. These women have bonded together and made a community for themselves which seems more advanced and safe then any male community with the exception of the dome.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s