| Quote #1
Because each had discovered years before that they were neither white nor male, and that all freedom and triumph was forbidden to them, they had to set about creating something else. (1922.8)
Oppressive gender roles anyone? Even at twelve, Sula and Nel know that being girls limits them in profound ways. The fact that they have already internalized these limits at such a young age shows us how encoded these gender roles are in society.
| Quote #2
While Eva tested and argued with her men . . . Hannah rubbed no edges, made no demands, made the man feel as though he were complete and wonderful just as he was. (1921.39)
Although Hannah takes a nontraditional approach to sex, she seems fairly traditional when it comes to her dynamic with men.
| Quote #3
So it was rage, rage and a determination to take on a man's role anyhow that made him press Nel about settling down. (1927.7)
Men are as subject to prescribed gender roles as women, and these roles can be just as limiting and oppressive. Jude feels like a failure because he can't do the work he wants. He can't exercise his masculinity through his job, so the next best thing is through marriage. Although he doesn't initially intend to get married, the need to feel like a man creates this desire in him.