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Unformatted text preview: Kelly Guinan SOC 110 Final Exam Paper December 17, 2007 Dear Keith, I am writing this letter to you because I think that it will provoke many interesting thoughts concerning our relationship in our personal private sphere and the public sphere we will both be thrust into when we graduate college. I have read the book “The Grasinski Girls” and in doing so was introduced to many concepts that affect us in our daily life. This book deals with a generation of Polish American sisters, and shows the lives of each in detail, concerning the choices they made with the choices they were given. They are about the age of our grandparents, and this book shows that the lives they lead were heavily constrained by the social structures present during key points in their lives. You and I are nearly in the same position in the social structure, being twins, yet our lives may be vastly different for the sole reason that you are a white male and therefore born into the dominant culture. I will explain this to you in detail along with the other concepts I have learned, and I will tell you about it as Mary Erdmans’ (the author) has done. Our social structure is a salient, invisible force that invisibly operates around us. In the case of the Grasinski girls, it constrained them from entering into the public sphere, that is, entering into a career with a high education and forming an identity through their occupation. Rather, they had few choices given to them from their social location: they could choose to be mothers, nuns, or accept singlehood. In the words of Erdmans, “Their choices and gender identities were constrained by class position, shaped by religious expectations, supported by ethnic culture, and privelaged by racial standing, but their lives were not determined.” This means that their class offered them their opportunities, though limited, their deep religious beliefs and connection with God offered entry into the convent, their ethnicity and culture supported their decisions, their whiteness gave them what is known as white privelage, but they could still choose which path to take and which path not to take, and their lives were there for not determined. The choice of singlehood was difficult because it meant assuming a male autonomous role, which went against the social norm. Really, this life choice was only held by Gene Grasinski, and it was not her choice per se. She did not desire singleood, but never found a suitable husband. A job for her was not a successful entrance into the public sphere, but more of a necessity for survival. Grasinski girls mostly made their choices to become the wives of what would hopefully be successful men, or to be the brides of Christ. The choice to become a nun was powerful because it was a way for the girls to gain a higher education, yet it was still a gender role. Though they were unlike...
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course SOC 110 taught by Professor Black during the Spring '08 term at Hartford.
- Spring '08