Characters Appearances + Mannerisms of (Cary Scott)
As Cary and Ron’s relationship grows, the desire for marriage also grows. But Cary’s children and social circle object to the matrimony, her children (rich, educated, privileged and snobbish) convince Cary that her loyalty to them and their deceased father was more important than her own happiness. The emphasis on Martyrdom is prevalent in idealized femininity. A woman must sacrifice everything she is, has, and her own happiness for the sake of society to function. Without a woman’s selfless act of sacrifice, society will not function properly according to the social norms set in place. After driving to Ron’s place to try and postpone the wedding, Cary says to Ron, “Ron we’re gonna have to wait to get married." Why? Because like what Cary says, “I can’t ruin my children’s lives, I have a responsibility to them." This notion that Cary has a responsibility over her children even after they have grown up shows how idealized femininity extends throughout a woman’s life. That it is her master role to perform from adolescence all the way through motherhood and so forth, that a woman must master her role as female and adhere to the idealized feminine characteristics, both physical and mental during her life.
In the ending scenes of the film after the children have said that they will be leaving her soon and that she will be left all alone, she also realizes that she sacrificed her happiness for nothing. Ron has an accident during this time that leaves him in a concussion, once Cary hears about this she runs to Ron’s side, as he wakes up from his injury, Cary looks at him and says, “Darling, I’ve come home.” At the end of the film Cary’s performance as the good nurturer shows that it is in women’s nature to be a caregiver, through all stages of life. This belief exemplifies how idealized femininity in its natural state is repressive, in that it holds women to the master role of caregiver, a responsibility that is permanent because
women can neither get rid of that position, or are stigmatized if they do so.
Characters Appearances + Mannerisms of (Ron Kirby)
In the beginning of the film when Ron Kirby is
introduced, he is pruning Mrs. Scott’s trees. He stands tall, slender with his
brownish dirty work suit and worn rough gardening gloves. His face is tan from
the sun. Ron’s sentences are short, and he is very straightforward, “yes. Thank
you.” His performance of idealized masculinity is when Cary offers him some
coffee and biscuits, he politely accepts and motions his body toward her chair
in which he pulls out for her. Yes in a sense this is just good behavior
(pulling a chair out for a woman), but when you really go deeper into the
performance, he is adhering to the idealized masculine role of a gentlemen.
Just like women, men were not naturally born as gentlemen, but it is a learned
role. In other words, to perform masculinity, one must adhere to the rules that
distinguish a woman and a man, and such rules are that, women are fragile and
must be treated delicately. Thus, when Ron was pulling out her chair, it wasn’t
just because he is polite, but because she is a lady and she is weak.