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Theme of male domination in “My Papa’s Waltz”, “The Story of An Hour”, and “The Secret Goldfish.


• Write an essay that focuses on the theme of male domination (gender roles) present in “My Papa’s Waltz”, “The Story of An Hour”, and “The Secret Goldfish. • The essay should be driven by a compelling and committed thesis, one that not only addresses a theme but also takes a position on that theme. • Your thesis will include your interpretation of what the texts are saying about the theme-topic. What are the texts’ messages regarding that theme? What do they teach us? Make sure to answer the so what? question. • Alternatively, instead of focusing on a theme that connects the three literary texts, you may choose to focus on a literary device. The essay would then explain the ways in which the different writings use this device for similar yet differing ends. You still need a compelling and committed thesis that goes beyond simply describing the fact that three literary works use a particular device. • Do not forget your basic essay writing skills. Your essay needs an introduction with a compelling, clear thesis, body paragraphs that develop the thesis (this will primarily involve textual evidence from the literature), and a conclusion that drives home your point (your interpretation of the texts). • You should use proper MLA format. • Some ideas: 1. “My papa’s waltz” addresses the idea of traditional masculinity. This poem shows us a little about how this son takes his understanding of gender and masculinity from his father. 2. “The story of an hour” talks about the oppression of marriage; husband gets to decide everything; loss of woman’s independence through marriage. 3. “The secret goldfish” talks about freedom and confinement; confinement after being married to a man. 4. These stories and poem point out the idea of patriarchy in the society (male domination). • You should have smooth transitions between the stories. Example: 1. While “Barbie Doll” addresses the negative impacts of standard notions of beauty, “Story of an Hour” focuses on the limited role of wifehood in turn-of-the-century America. 2. “The Yellow Wall-Paper” also explores the role of a wife at the turn of the century, but Gilman focuses specifically on how patriarchy silenced and patronized women. 3. “Cold as Heaven” expresses how important it is to help a loved one go during death. “After Apple-Picking” also explores letting go of life, but instead of focusing on how someone helps another die, Frost focuses on the dying person accepting his own death. • Sample good introduction for the theme of family: Life can be difficult at times and at those times one may need a support system. The best support one can get is an unconditional bond from family. Throughout life, one may experience a turnover of friends but family usually stands by. The family bond is considered unconditional because family never (Avoid absolutes.) sets a condition before helping out their members. “The red convertible”, Titling“Those Winter Sundays”, and “Sonny’s Blues” Include the authors. present good literary examples that help the reader realize the importance of the family and their unconditional love and support because in these stories no condition is put forth by a family member to help the other, or in other words the love shown in these stories was is not selfish. Okay, good. The efforts of one brother to cure the other in “The Red Convertible”, the struggle of the father in “Those Winter Days” to protect and support his family and the attempts of the older brother to look after and change his younger brother in “Sonny’s Blues” Great quick summation! shows that regardless of any situation one may be in, family will always often (Sadly, not ALL families do.) provide unconditional love and support to try to get one out of the situation he/she is in.


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