The comparison of Sylvia Beach and Penny both as taking on a masculine role is brilliant! Well done Devyn on using examples that both portray the hands of the women as masculine. Women are meant to be doing ‘dainty’ things according to society, so writing the female characters as doing ‘male-oriented’ tasks shows how they are swapping gender roles. Additionally, James Joyce and Raj swap gender roles because they are written/described as effeminant. Though some of these characters are not necessarily homosexual, they are entering into territories of the opposite sex due their physicality or mannerisms.
Dominance is argued to be a biological trait of the male species in which the larger size of males as well as their higher levels of testosterone lead to their “aggressive and dominant behavior” (623). In contrast, females are described as being more timid and shy which lead to them being more nurturing. The dynamic duo of Sylvia Beach (author of Shakespeare and Co.) and James Joyce (author of Ulysses) are two friends who experience a swap in their gender roles. As has already been noted, the typical role of the female in a relationship is as the subordinate while the male role is as the dominant. In the case of Beach and Joyce however these roles are reversed. Through the simple act of a handshake, Beach is described as being more masculine than Joyce:
“We shook hands; that is, he put his limp, boneless hand in my tough…
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