Gender Roles In Sag Harbor

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Formation of Gender Expectations
Starting at the core development of our society, roles such as gender, race and class have formed into our perception of ourselves and others throughout several aspects of life. In the novel Sag Harbor, Colson Whitehead analyzes the importance of these roles and portrays how they structure our society. Benji, the main character of this novel is a teengager who is striving to fit in and trying to find his place in society. Benji has faced difficult times trying to fit in, as he is an affluent African American boy who goes to an all white school and lives in an all white neighborhood on the Upper East Side. But when his family spends their summers in Sag Harbor, where other affluent African American families are, he feels at home and finds his true identity. Benji is in the process of discovering his perception of women and his relationship with the women in his life, which becomes problematic due to the fact that he takes in his perception of women through seeing how his father talks about and treats his mother. He has evolved to believe that men are built to dominate over women based on interactions between his mother and father. This concept that runs throughout the novel prompts me to believe that gender expectations are shaped by our surroundings and the interactions within genders that occur around us.

In the Novel Theory Toolbox’s chapter “Subjectivity”, Nealon and Giroux make the point that external factors around us determine our
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