Jump to content

DRAGONMOUNT

A WHEEL OF TIME COMMUNITY

Male & Female readers


nosscire
 Share

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, was hoping you can help me out here.

 

I'm working in the first stage of a possible essay involving Wheel of Time as a case study on the subject of difference between male and female communication.

 

My thesis (is that the correct word in english? You know what I mean anyway) is that male readers in general tend to understand and agree with randlands male caracters reasoning and thinking, while considering the female characters as illogical and vice verse for female readers.

 

IE, males tend to think Nyneave to be fairly illogical in her reasoning, while females think it more reasonable, and the other way around with Mat for example.

 

This is something that I have gathered from friends around me who have read the books, and to me personally the males tend think more logical then females in the series.

 

The idea is basicly that males and females in generall read different things out of the same texts.

 

Basicly, is this something you agree on? Before I even start to work on a subject like this I need to have atleast some verification that i'm on the right track.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a guy I do find the female characters tend to be irrational and I guess strange would be the best word, and on the other hand the male characters, for me anyway, seem more rational. I guess it helps that I can relate to the male characters more (at least in the early books I could).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My thesis (is that the correct word in english?

Your theory. Thesis is used more to refer to a subject for a composition or essay, while theory is usually used to refer to a stated proposition that is as yet unproven.

 

IE, males tend to think Nyneave to be fairly illogical in her reasoning, while females think it more reasonable, and the other way around with Mat for example.

 

In the parts of the books where Mat interacts with Elayne and Nynaeve, I find Nynaeve and Elayne to be illogical haughty stuck up twits, while Mat acts like a hero.

 

I think Rand's attitude toward women is ridiculous and stupid. How many men and women died because he refused to kill Lanfear?

 

I think Perrin's fixation on Faile is kinda creepy. It was romantic when she was stuck inside the hedgehog dreamworld, but in KoD? Creeeeeeepy.

 

I find Egwene's actions to be reasonable considering her situation. Unlikely, since she's only 18 and there's no chance that she would actually be that smart (being raised in a tiny village and only being exposed to the world for 2 years), but logical.

 

I'm a girl.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately your sample set here is going to be quite a bit skewed. What I would do is compile 30-50 names of WoT fans (here, in RL, whatever, just make sure no one's on there twice), divide them evenly between people who identify as male and who identify as female, then ask them what characters they find to be most irrational in the series, and who they find most rational. Also who they identify with most, and who they identify with least. Responses should be private to you, to avoid groupthink.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Triadruid, you have misunderstood my point here :)

 

I do not plan on using posts on a web forum as any sort of reliable proof for my theory. The reason that i'm asking is to see if there's any kind of support for my theory at all, and if theres any point in really working on it, or if I should move on to another subject.

 

What you are suggesting is pretty much what I have planned, although I will probably use a more qualitative method with lesser amounts of people, but deeper interviews. A quantatitive ananlysis would have to be on a larger scale then the 50 you mention to be considered valid where I study, and I don't think I will have the resourses for that.

 

Basicly, this post is only about feeling the ground to see if it's worth to put any real work into it :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool, I wasn't sure what kind of rigorousness you were going to have to subject this to. :)

 

My 'gut' feeling is that RJ wrote most of his characters, male and female, with very deliberate and obvious stereotypical characteristics of their gender and sexist reactions to things. We get a few outliers (Min, Shalon, Birgitte, Halima) and they're all remarked on repeatedly (and all female, FWIW) and singled out as 'weird'. The culture is remarkably homogeneous when it comes to gender roles, perhaps due to the definition of the OP.

 

So I'd guess that most readers do tend to identify with characters of their own gender, but also that they identify even moreso with longtime characters. The correlation is probably not very strong overall.

 

I'm perfectly happy to be one of your datapoints, by the way, if it comes to that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is very serious, and will be one of my most important essays during my univerity studies.

 

WoT in itself have not much to do with the essay, apart from beeing the tool I might use for these studies. It could be any litterature, or for that matter TV, movies or theater, that have clearly difined roles to which different groups might relate differently to.

 

What i'm looking at is how a single message can be interpreted in different ways depending on what group you belong to (in this case gender), and why that is the case. That is why I have to find out if this is the case with WoT before starting, cause if there isn't a clear difference between how groups interpret the messages, there's nothing for me to study here.

 

The fact that I have singled out WoT is that it's a series that have many strong characters, and where I believe this subject can be easily idintified. And ofcourse cause i'm a WoT fanatic and it's just more fun to do it on a media that I personally like :)

 

The work itself isn't sheduled to start until January, so this is just my early research to make sure that I have an interesting subject to study in good time.

---

 

 

Also, i'd love some more opinions on this. There's no need to make any long post on why you think i'm right or wrong, I just need some input to see if people agree with me, so that I know if I should continue.

 

Basicly a "I'm a male/femaly and i do/do not identify with male/female characters more in Wheel of Time." would be enough :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am female, but I tend to find the female characters to be less rational than the male ones. Except for exceptions, like Min, who is very rational, and Perrin, who often is not. However, I usually feel that way in real life too. And if you're looking for people to interview, I'm willing. =)

 

I think you have a great idea for a paper. I'd love to see your ideas when you've got it all finished. I tried using the series once in a paper for a class on modern literature, and got an F because "science fiction and fantasy is not serious literature, and not to be used in this class ever again." It was a comparison between The Hobbit and The Eye of the World.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think both sides of the sexual spectrum in the series are incredibly irrational. They both do stupid things, assume stupid things, say stupid things, and are generally down-right stupid when it comes to the majority of their acts.

 

What I do believe is that there are a few more gender-based personality quirks on the female side within the books than on the male side.

 

But that doesn't mean that I agree with either side. Mat does plenty of stupid things for stupid reasons, see how he stupidly allowed himself to get roped in with the trio of girls. Rand has his "oh boo-hoo, I can't kill women" shtick. Perrin has his, "Faile is my life, the only thing that matters to me, to the Pit with the rest of the world."

 

Nynaeve has, "I'm a woman dammit! I'm stubborn! Watch me pull my braid! *grr* See? Stubborn! You can't push me around!" Elayne has her, "I'm the queen. It's so difficult being the queen. How dare Rand do this. He's such a sweet guy though. How dare he do this!" Egwene has her, "I'm the Amyrlin. I must pretend as if my situation and what I have to deal with is anywhere near as hard as Rand's situation. I have so much to do, and so little time. Oh woe is me." Aviendha has, "I'm an Aiel. But I like pretty stuff! And burn Rand for being a hot guy!" Min has, "I love Rand, so I'm going to follow him around and put him and myself in danger and force him to protect both of us rather than allowing him to focus on what needs focusing on. But the sex is good, so I guess I'll stick around."

 

See? They're all equally stupid.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried using the series once in a paper for a class on modern literature, and got an F because "science fiction and fantasy is not serious literature, and not to be used in this class ever again." It was a comparison between The Hobbit and The Eye of the World.

 

Something just died inside of me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think both sides of the sexual spectrum in the series are incredibly irrational. They both do stupid things, assume stupid things, say stupid things, and are generally down-right stupid when it comes to the majority of their acts.

 

 

Yes, how very human of all of them. 

 

Actually, I think you need to also focus on any bias that RJ may have had.  In considering writing something, I always despair at presenting a truly feminine point of view...I'm not confidant, as a male, that I can actually present a credible situation.  Not to compare myself to RJ, of course, or any "real" writer, but the differences in writing by either sex in POVs of the opposite sex can be striking.  I wonder if female writers struggle mentally with this.  So your paper needs to address that as well as the presented male/female differences. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think you have a great idea for a paper. I'd love to see your ideas when you've got it all finished. I tried using the series once in a paper for a class on modern literature, and got an F because "science fiction and fantasy is not serious literature, and not to be used in this class ever again." It was a comparison between The Hobbit and The Eye of the World.

 

Well I hope your professor realizes that in making this statement he has denounced classic works such as "The Oddesy", "Beowulf" "Morte de Arthur", "The Once and Future King" and "A Brave New World" as illegitimate literature.  Really the only difference between "The Oddesy" and "Lord of the Rings" is that The Oddesy is really old, so I would like to know exactly how old a work of literature must be before it reaches the age of seriousness.    I'd be very interested to hear this guy's definition of "serious literature."  I'd also be interested to know how many best selling books he has gotten published.  Speaking of best selling books, you know who does have a best selling book?  Joseph Campbell, and I think he would very much disagree with with your professor's denunciation of Sci-Fi/Fantasy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Unfortunately, fantasy and sci-fi is taken as seriously as the lower outliers, but the same isn't true for fiction for some reason.  There are plenty of sci-fi and fantasy books I'd deem pretty serious.  For sci-fi, for example, all of Joe Haldemann's stuff (The Forever War is really, really good).  He's a Vietnam vet and it shows in his writing, a lot of which details the effects of war on soldiers and society, etc.  He's also a professor at MIT, so I'd take him seriously all right.  For fantasy, Wheel of Time or LotR should speak for themselves.

 

Great point, btw, Leopoled Boothe.

 

On the note of the Hobbit, it is true that it is written with a much simpler style than, say, the actual LotR trilogy.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nosscire,

 

I think you have a valid hypothesis.  I for one, do perceive the male characters being more 'logical' than the females (the character I most identify with is Lan). 

It amuses me to see time and time again one of the female characters jump to the wrong conclusion.  As I sit here typing, I can think of several instances when the main female characters made leaps in the wrong direction, but I can only think of a few times when the male characters make those mistakes; most of the male characters' 'illogical' moments (as I see) I can think of off the top of my head directly or indirectly involve one of the female caracters, usually a rescue.

The way I see it, the most 'logical' characters in the series are the ones that are really not part of any decision making authority (i.e. Lan, Thom, Juilin, et.al.).

Wow... rereading this, I sound like a total sexist, and I'm not (at least I don't think I am...).  :o

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the note of Hobbit, it actually was supposed to have been written by a hobbit, a kinda small simple villager, and LotR - it's more epic, a saga of Light's victory over Shadow  ;)

So, it can't be both written in the same language. And shouldn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, the style of the Hobbit is simple on purpose. I've seen Tolkien get much, much fancier. And simple doesn't make it not a serious book. There's plenty of 'classic' literature that's just as simple. Take Mark Twain's work.

 

wonder if female writers struggle mentally with this.

Yes, absolutely. I'm working on a piece right now that switches back and forth between the POV of a female character and a male, and it gets difficult sometimes to know what the male is thinking. I usually solve it by asking a male friend what would be going on in his head. Although sometimes I regret asking, because I'd really rather not know... ::)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried using the series once in a paper for a class on modern literature, and got an F because "science fiction and fantasy is not serious literature, and not to be used in this class ever again." It was a comparison between The Hobbit and The Eye of the World.

 

Something just died inside of me.

Did you appeal it, I would have appealed.  Their are many Professors of Literature who would strongly disagree with that statement.

 

I started reading read WoT because I overheard my American Lit Professor (and head of the English Department) comment that RJ was one of his favorite writers in the Fantasy Genre.

 

Sounded like your paper was graded by a culture snob.  In your appeal you could point out that Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekkel and Mr. Hyde are Science Fiction and Sir Edmund Spence's The Fairy Queen and 'ole Billy S's The Tempest, Midsummer Nights Dream, and a few other plays are fantasy.

 

That is not even getting into the mythology and folklore and the 600 year old fairy tales still being told today.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Back to the topic (God, culture snobs piss me off) I don't think the women, with the exception of Egwene, Elayne, Nyn, Min, and later Suine, are that illogical.  Their thinking is based on personal ethics and experience and what they know and think they know.

 

The five mentioned above....Ya, they're crazy.

 

Gawyn I would think takes the prize for the dumbest guy.

 

Rand, Mat, and Perrin's idea of hurting women is kinda wacked but aside from that I would say that they keep a clear head.  But Perrin is a bit creepy when it comes to Faile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

    First of all Great Post!! It truly proves my point in Robert Jordan being one of the greatest writers of all time!! My answer is kind of weird because in my opinion how the character handles the situation that he/she is in is how I feel about the character. Sometimes I'm about to shoot Mat because he can't see the forest in front of his face and in another sequence I would defend anything he says or does because he is truly in the right. Again it shows to me how great a writer Robert Jordan is.

 

    All said and done, I have to agree with you in that for the most part I believe the males are more logical. By the way, I would like to be on your panel if you choose to have one. Good luck regardless!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great theory for your dissertation (as I'm presuming that's what it's for).

 

I am female, and I see both sides, but then i've always been told i am not a typical woman. Girlish sillyness annoys me so much of the time Elayne bugs me. Fluttering eyelids and 'coy smiles' get my back up - what's wrong with being pretty AND employing common sense?

 

Berelain, I like. She is attractive and she uses it to manipulate, but all for the good of her country and truth be told, she's a damn good leader. So good infact that Rand happily leaves her in charge of Cairhein in his leave. She's also modest enough to take guidance from Rhuarc - a woman who is aware of her own abilities, but able to take note where others have better or more experience than her.

 

Of all the men, whilst if I was choosing  ;) I would go with Rand, I think that Mat is the one I respect more. There would be less braid-pulling aruond Mat if I were Nynaeve than around Rand or Perrin. Perrin needs a good slap.

 

On the whole, I like the characters 100% but I DO think that the males are stronger characters in my eyes. I LIKE them better. Throughout my entire life 75%+ of my friends have been male so perhaps that affects my judgement but...

 

The women I dont have a problem with, and frankly their portrayal seems realistic enough to me. Even Nynaeve - she's there, underneath the arrogance and the temper. She's scared, essentially. She uses attitude to compensate for height, age and her block. Lan is good for her in that he's gotten rid of her block, and she can now be confident in her ability to channel at ease.

 

So to conclude... sorry this is a bit messed up! To conclude, I like and believe both male and female characters - in fact i'm pretty sure I've met / know someone almost identical to almost every character in the books, but I prefer the men  :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Was some time since I last posted here, so I'll do a small bump to this thread. I still hope for more opinions on the subject.

Have been working a bit on my safe alternative to this idea (boring stuff about language usage in todays media, dry stuff), and came to the conclusion that I need this to work if i'm not to hang myself out of boredom ;)

 

I still hope for some more opinions on the subject.

Again, I need to stress that this is an inofficial survey, and that nothing posted in this thread by itself will be used in the actual work. If I do this, new official surveys will be carried out.

 

Basically, are you male or female, and do you in general feel that the male or female characters in the series are the most rational?

 

One thing I never said before that is very important is that while all of them often act wrong, this must be considered from what they know about the world, not what we as readers know.

 

Thanks again :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...