Shout by Dagoberto Gilb Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1385 Words
Date:  2022-04-04

In the short story, "Shout," Dagoberto Gilb, the author, centers his narrative on the headache and the emotions that accompany the protagonist's day to day life. The protagonist, who is a nameless male character returns home after a long day of manual work where he seeks to relax and escape the toil of his labor. However, upon reaching home, he realizes that his home does not offer the relief that he desperately needs, and instead, he faces a new set of challenges with both his wife and children. Based on the protagonist's situation, Gilb skilfully uses numerous literary elements to expose a larger issue of gender inequality and the roles played by either gender in the Hispanic worldview.

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To begin with, Gilb skilfully develops the two main characters of the story, the man, and his wife, to employ a portrayal of stereotypical and classic gender roles. Through the roles played by each partner, the author infuses a sense of gender inequality in the story's atmosphere. In particular, the story begins by describing the husband as a hardworking Hispanic man, who has toiled all day at work, as evidenced by his hard hat and a work truck. The character of the husband is extensively developed throughout the story through several inappropriate outbursts. Through his authoritative behavior towards his wife and children, the author portrays the man as a macho and insensitive brute. However, towards the end of the story, both the author depicts character of the man and hence making giving the readers a sense of the differences in the gender roles. The character of his wife, on the other hand, helps us understand that females were considered as the weak gender and their primary role was to stay at nurture, perform household chores and take care of the children. This being said, through the difference in the two main characters, the man and his wife, the author gives an illustration of the juxtaposed feelings of frustrations and love, through the co-dependent relationship.

Throughout the story, Gilb extensively uses symbolism to express mystical ideas and emotions that exemplify the difference in the two genders, man, and wife. For instance, at the outset of the story, the man gets home and immediately finds himself locked out of the house with a latch on the screen door. Although the man gets upset and scolds the wife for locking him out, it is evident that the simple lock that his wife had placed on the screen door had deprived him of free access to his own home and this makes him powerless to thwart her. To a broader extent, this exemplifies masculine insecurity as the man is evidently unable to reconcile the hyper-masculine nature signified through his day job and the challenges he experiences in his own house. In the same vein, the author uses the man's hardhat, which he brings into the house to show that the man does not expect any sanctuary upon entering the house. Besides, the hard hat is also an indication that is the man, he was expected to toil at work during the day, and also put in the same kind of effort whenever he got home, to bring a sense of order in his house.

Additionally, the author skillfully develops the story's structure to exemplify the sense of gender inequality. In the story, when the man gets home, the author paints the picture that it is obviously his time to relax and he gets into his own world of drinking and watching TV oblivious to how much his wife struggles to get dinner ready and to monitor all the three kids. As the man relaxes, he is evidently irked by the noise his kids were making, which makes him yell at them. Based on this context, the author exemplifies gender inequality when the wife responds to his angry voice, and the man perceives it as a threat to his dominance. He says, "You don't talk to me like that!" as an indication that nothing was supposed to come in the way of his authoritative self, whenever he got in the house.

Similarly, through the setting of the story, the author substantiates the stereotyped gender roles within Hispanic culture. Right from the beginning of the story, the man is portrayed as not only the senior-most person in his family but also a breadwinner who exhibits a sense a machismo. The father tries to assert his dominance in the household by regulating his children with yelling. For instance, as he sits down to relax, his children, who are all boys, happen to be fighting over something and he yells, "Everybody shut up and is quiet!" He later tries to assert his dominance over his wife by coercing her into sex. On the other hand, the wife is portrayed as a meek and a good stay at home mom who prepared and had dinner ready for her husband when he arrived home from work. Besides, to further define the role of the female, as the protagonist tries to get his house in the perfect order he desired, he tells his wife that, "You know sometimes I wish you were a man cuz I wouldn't let you get away with looks like that. I wouldn't take half the shit I take from you." Based on this statement, the author paints the picture that females are socially portrayed as the weaker gender and that they cannot handle hardships, as compared to their male counterparts.

Also, being a primary role in the short story, the author develops the theme of conflict through the extensive reference to the different roles played by the man and the woman. More fundamentally, the man is exemplified as exemplified as the defense of the family through the sprouting conflict between the man and their neighbor who yells at their house complaining about the noise from the crying baby. In this case, despite the disagreement that had brought conflict between the man and his wife, a truce is immediately acquired when another conflict is initiated between the man and the neighbor. Based on this account, the author paints the picture that the man is inspired to action by the sudden ability to put his manhood to test against another man. Besides, the author exemplifies gender conformity when the woman is undoubtedly pleased by her husband's response to the neighbor and this, changes everything about their conflict.

The theme of gender conformity is also extensively developed in this short story to exemplify how the difference in the gender roles contributed to the development of the story. An excellent example of gender conformity is seen in the fact that, although the husband was angry, aggressive and frustrated by the situation in his house when he got home, he willingly showed his vulnerability and showed a softer side once he and his wife were in bed. He even apologized for his inappropriate behavior. In this regard, the author uses a plot twist in the sense that, despite the fact that the wife showed submissive behavior throughout the entire story, she is able to stand for what she believed in in the end. After what seemed to be their reconciliation, she surprisingly was able to assert some control in deciding not to have sex with her husband. At this point, the two both conform to each other's desires and the man does not use his masculinity to coarse her into doing what she did not intend to do. In conclusion, based on account of this short story, Gilb, narrates a brief but intense account of a domestic misunderstanding between a beer-guzzling husband who gets home after his hard day of manual work and his family who he vents his rage to. Despite the fact that the author tells this story from a purely male perspective, the offhand observations by the husband give profound insights into the frustrations and thoughts seen in his wife's personality. Based on this regard, the author develops the theme of the story which is centred on gender inequality by painting the man as the sole provider of the family who is oblivious to his wife's care and nurturing behavior. On the other hand, the wife, who represents the weaker gender, is depicted as patient and a dutiful woman who displays an overly nurturing behaviour.

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Shout by Dagoberto Gilb Essay. (2022, Apr 04). Retrieved from

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