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ENG215H1 Lecture Notes - Gender Role, Pg. 99

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Sarah Caskey

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The Thesis Statement (document on Blackboard)
Not a statement of fact, or a summary of plot.
o Generalization based on your interpretation, that needs further evidence.
o Can't be just self-evident and factual, because you don't give yourself a lot of breadth or
room to argue.
Has to be argumentative/debatable.
Prof. has no limit on length of thesis.
Lazy Bones thesis example: the traditional institution of marriage allows Elizabeth to redefine
what she can do as a woman within her farming community.
o Or: Elizabeth uses the traditional institution of marriage to challenge restraining gender
codes and perform the roles of man & woman.
o Or: The farm is the place where Elizabeth can develop and maintain a relationship with
nature (outside of what gender roles would allow her to do in society) - a relationship that is
stronger than the one she has with her husband.
Helped define Canadian farm fiction.
Not trying to idealize/romanticize life --> showing the hardships of prairie life.
Pays significant attention to the landscape --> the setting, the hail, the wind, the environment, the
o All threatening and destructive --> the weather in particular, can dash their hopes of
Struggle between relentless nature and tenacious man.
Hailstorm's destructiveness/relentlessness show the battle is not fair.
Ross animates nature --> uses personification to show that it's hostile.
Nature is the setting, but more importantly - the antagonist.
Just like the wheat is contrarily described with lively, human characteristics.
Ross' sympathy to the difficulty of farming weighs in to the portrayal of man vs.
Unequal pairs in the story.
o Aforementioned "weather/nature vs. man."
o John and Martha are not on equal footing.
Martha wants to get hail insurance (pg. 101) but it's really up to John and he didn't
want to.
The whole narrative is aligned with Martha's thinking, even though some is told in the
We understand what Martha is thinking and get an impression that she is
smarter than John.
John is uneducated.
She knew he didn't care about her or her future.
Pg. 104-bottom: …?
We're influenced by Martha's confidence from pg. 99, "Martha knew, Martha
This changes by the conclusion of the story and forces us to reconsider
everything about Martha in the story.
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