In the Roman de Silence, Nature made Silence a perfect woman and Nurture made her a perfect man—and a perfect knight. In making this perfect knight a woman, the romance asks whether men and women are different because of nature, or because of nurture. Can you think of a…
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Le Roman de Silence is story told by an anonymous author from the 13th Century Medieval times. It is a story about a protagonist who is naturally a female, but is trained by his parents to act like a man. The main reason that her parents decide to raise silence as a boy is to retain their wealth for their daughter, because according to law of the day there was no inheritance right for the women. Therefore, Silence is made to learn the crafts of a ministerial, and develop skills that would lead her to knighthood (de Cornuälle & Thorpe, 1972). At the age of twelve, the time of puberty, Silence has to decide, whether she should stick to the choice of her parents or accept what the nature has made her. At this point in time she comes across Dame Nature and Dame Nurture (de Cornuälle & Thorpe, 1972). She decides to stick with the choice of her parents, and invest her energies in becoming a respected male figure.
Society is an important determinant in the development of human personality. Like nature it applies certain selection pressures that transform, rather modify the way a person thinks and make decisions. The involvement of social pressure is quite evident in the case of Silence’s choice to be a man (Bloch, 81-99). Assigning gender roles is an important element in inducing specific mentality into individuals belonging to a particular gender. There are several characteristics in males that are either different or completely absent in the females. For instance men are impatient, while women have patience; men are less emotional compared to women; Men are more aggressive than women, and so on and so forth. Silence is shown to be overwhelmed by the masculine characteristics that she gives up on her biology, and pretends to spend her days like a man. Apart from the natural differences between the two genders, there are several artificial features that are used as cliché to separate the two genders. Application of gender roles is nothing
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