Gender Dynamics in Malouf's Ransom 12th Grade

David Malouf’s Ransom explores the power dynamic between men and women, and despite the obvious role of men in the text, women, too, are significant as they have influence over man’s presence on earth. Traditional gender roles, as defined by the expectations of a patriarchal Ancient Greek society in which the novel is set, often force women to take a passive, secondary role to men who occupy positions of power such as the king or the warrior. However, an alternate reading of the text challenges the black and white portrayal of the two genders, suggesting that females have a strong presence as the caregivers and protectors of men. The presence of women at the beginning and end of life acknowledges the significance of maternal creation as well as rites of passage that men in the text can neither understand nor emulate. Furthermore, it is the goddesses in the novel that instil the idea to ransom in Priam and evoke a softness in Achilles (which gives way to a truce between the male protagonists), thus highlighting that it is through the females that the transformations of the Trojan king and the Greek warrior occur. It is in this way that the female characters in Ransom are shown to have power and influence in their own right and...

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