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She knows what he wants to ask but is refusing to continue without him ‘doing it properly’ and uses imperatives to hurry his proposal while telling him before hand that she ‘fully intends to accept’, breaking Grice’s maxim. She controls the entire conversation, when she uses informal language Jack uses formal language, when she switches to formal he switches also, for example when she calls him ‘Mr.
Worthing he uses ‘Miss Fairfax’ but when she calls him Earnest this is an indication that the conversation has become more pleasant, showing that she has great influence on him and the dialogue exchanged. All the women in my pieces are intelligent, often more so than any males featured in the piece. Margaret Thatcher reveals her intelligence by showing her obvious education by quoting Socrates, a male philosopher; she also uses long and compound sentences with sophisticated punctuation using long words which shows she is not stupid, Gwendolyn also displays such linguistic characteristics using long words such as ‘notorious domesticity’, gained from her high class birth and social standing and she can also see through jacks small talk and is always aware of what is going on.
Offred is also shown not to be unintelligent, she demonstrates her minor grasp of Latin when she finds the carving in the wardrobe and Serena Joy says ‘I know you aren’t stupid’ because she has read Offred’s file and shows her knowledge of past traditions and behaviour in the ‘Time before’. In both “The Handmaids Tale” and “The Importance of being Earnest” it is only the female characters that use imperatives, the only high status male is the Commander who is never shown giving orders, it is his Wife who gives them for him, for what he wants without him telling her or when she is conducting the running of the household where she is the ultimate authority, ordering Offred to not call her ‘Ma’am’ or to be out of sight during her posting.
Jack is clearly lowest on the hierarchy in lady Bracknell’s house, it is Gwendolyn who gives him orders instead of the other way around, and she tells him not to talk to about the weather and tries to get him to propose to her in the correct manner, but it is Lady Bracknell who can order even Gwendolyn because of her automatic status due to her age and higher place in the family as her mother and orders her to ‘The carriage’ during her interview with Jack when she treats Jack as if he were applying for a job in a company to see if he is a ‘suitable candidate’ for marrying her daughter, which is similar to frequent arranged marriages in high class societies in those times. Offred’s position ion her household is unclear, she is underneath Serena but no one is sure if she is below or above the other servants as it is ‘too soon’ so she is treated with respect but held in low regard. Margaret Thatcher does not use imperatives as she is trying to persuade her audience and does so well, instead she urges her audience to read the proposal, she displays the current way of things as illogical and almost absurd by mentioning odd statistics made by men to keep women in the house and unfounded claims and rules by corporations for unequal pay between men and women.
In conclusion it is apparent that women have the greater position in my pieces with men unexpectedly being lower in the hierarchy, the women often control most conversations and seem to have great power even though, especially in “The Handmaid Tale”.
Women socially are supposed to have lower status because of the time period and circumstances but it is the opposite, the women have the power over the men so they are actually in control even though it is not what society as a whole expects, they break the gender stereotypes that are in our minds, they are not the weak willed, submissive sex that they are ‘supposed’ to be, they are equally strong as the men, if not more so, changing our expectations of the genders where men were thought to speak twice as much as women and had greater control it is the women who speak the most as see in the pieces I have chosen. By Ashley Latty 2568 words.