When reading Blu’s Hanging, I was immediately drawn to the changing gender roles as the children of the family dealt with the death of their mother. Ivah, who is still a child, is left to take care of her two siblings and even her father. She constantly refers back to how her mom left her without a clue and also how she “Never was a mama. Never will be.” (Kincaid 248). There are many aspects of the children’s gender roles in Blu’s Hanging, but more specifically I think that the most useful parts of the text will be to look into the gender roles used in the children’s coping devices after the death of their mother. Each of the children posses different ways of dealing with the death of their mother, and in these coping devices, gender roles are definitely apparent—and in some cases are constantly changing throughout the novel. Although I think this topic has a lot of possibilities, I’m still wondering if I need to narrow it down more in effort to have a more compact analyzes.
Some things I’d like to investigate further are:
1) Are there any other topics concerning gender role that I should touch on? Possibly the similarities between Blu and animals in the text? Maybe even what the animals are gendered as in the text?
2) Are there any other situations in the text where gender roles are clearly apparent (besides in coping devices)?
3) Does Maisie exhibit reversed gender roles? Where?
I chose the topic of gender roles because I think it is a very interesting component of the novel. Without the use of constantly changing gender roles in the novel, the roles of such characters as Blu and Ivah wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful.