The Importance of Gender Conflicts Literature to Society Past and Present

ENGL 1302
Professor Bonin
by
Mary Finch

Gender conflict arises when one set or another defies social norn through thought or actions. Society is constantly changing, some would say evolving, and gender roles are constantly being redefined. Female have traditionally been subservient to males women throughout the passage of time have found themselves fighting our male dominated society in order to gain their rights and remedies in the legal system and society itself.
At one time in American society, women were not permitted to own property, were discouraged from seeking higher education and were relegated to home and hearth. Men were hunter and women were gatherers.
World War II and the subsequent Industrial Revolution put women into the American workforce, not only in large numbers, but also for the first time in American history, in jobs that were traditionally male dominated positions. The war effort actively recruited the women due to lack of males available for these factory positions in large part because most of the healthy males were engaged in active military service. It was during this time that many women discovered that they could be financially independent of their male family members and because disgruntled when the war effort ended; thus our male dominated society sought once again to sentence them to the limited existence they lived before the war.
Gender conflict is not limited to females in our society. Men who seek to be house husbands or wish to take on the role of primary caretaker for the children, suffer the stigma society attaches to them as being too lazy to go out to support their families, or are viewed and possibly as effeminate homosexual I have chosen three works in which gender conflict arises. Faulkner\'s "A Rose for Emily"; Sophocles\' "Antigone"; and McElroy\'s "My Fathers Wars". I include McElroy\'s poem because I felt it essential to show that despite the feminist belief that only they, as women, encounter gender discrimination, McElroy shows through her work that men encounter the same types of social stigmas when they attempt to cross the gender line as well.
William Faulkner was born Sept 25, 1897 to Murry C and Maud Butler Faulkner in New Albany Mississippi. He was the oldest of four sons. His education was speractic and he did not graduate from high school. Having already determined that he wanted to become a writer he could be said to be self educated through extensive reading. Faulkner served briefly with the Royal Air Force in Canada, worked as a clerk at a Lord and Taylor\'s book shop and in 1921 he returned to Oxford Mississippi and became a postmaster. Faulkner stayed briefly in New Orleans and traveled the literary circle of that community. He returned to Oxford at the end of 1925. On June 20, 1929 he married Estelle Oldham. In 1950 Faulkner received the Nobel Prize for literature. Faulkner died July 16, 1962, the same year he declined an invitation to a White House dinner honoring Nobel Prize winners hosted by President and Mrs. J.F. Kennedy. (Ford & Kincaid 4-11)
Sophocles was born at clonus, in 496 B. C.. He won his first victory in tragic competition in 468 B. C.. In 443-442 B. C., Sophocles was elected Steward of the Imperial Treasury. The next year was the year Antigone made Sophocles famous. (Woodward 175) Sophocles was 55 years old. Sophocles, through his political offices sought to widen democracy and extend imperialism. Sophocles died during a recitation of Antigone to a group of friends. The year is presumed to be 406 or 405 B. C.. (Brown 3-4) Unfortunately, my efforts to find biographical information on Colleen J. McElroy yielded no results. So I am limited only to the information provided by our textbook. It show Colleen McElroy\'s birth as 1935. The publication of her poem, "My Fathers Wars" was in 1984. Further, because of my inability to locate information on Ms. McElroy, I will have no professional criticism to cite in relations to her work. All interpretations are my own.
"A Rose for Emily"; probably Faulkner\'s best short story, is surely one of the most grim yet touching stories in all English literature...." (O\'Connor p.68). O\'Connor blames the severity of the treatment Emily Grierson received at the hands