Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction

Disparity in Gender Roles in "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters": A Feminist Criticism

The core battle in the modern Feminist movement has been the battle against set gender roles. Women no longer feel that it is mandatory for them to be a mother and a housewife simply because they were born female, or that it is a man's role to be a worker and a breadwinner simply because he was born male. Thus, it is common in feminist articles and literature to discuss the idea of "blending" gender roles. Through the character of Seymour Glass in "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters," J.D. Salinger successfully blurs conventional masculine and feminine roles, creating a persona that would, in any other situation, be an asset to feminist philosophy. However, by representing Seymour as quantifiably insane and suicidal, Salinger creates a tragically anti-feminist character who essentially reestablishes antiquated gender stereotypes.

Buddy Glass, the narrator of "Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters" and "Seymour, an Introduction," describes his brother as a typical boy. Seymour gets his hair cut at the barber, is the best marble player on the playground, and is "the Fastest Boy Runner in the World" ("Seymour" 162-211). Seymour is clearly expected to abide by the...

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