Erick Gonzalez Vanessa Martinez Adriana Morales Paola Quesada The Cardinals Bessie Head > Born on July 6, 1937 > Born and raised in apartheid South Africa > Suffered from poverty, racial segregation, and gender discrimination > Worked as a journalist, teacher, and writer > Died on April, 17, 1986 Summary 3 Thesis Statement The Cardinals by Bessie Head deals with the issues of racism, political oppression, and degradation that women face in Africa. Racism and Political Oppression • To prove the emphasis the author makes on discrimination due to the skin color Concept of Racism “How typical, PK. How typical of secluded White mentality. You are so accustomed to getting the best in the land that you think you can just sit around and give orders” (55). Immorality Act One of the most controversial legislative acts of South African Apartheid. “Did he not receive instructions form his captain that it is forbidden for a White man to attempt to have, or to have, relations with a non- White woman?” (60). Economic Oppression To demonstrate how hierarchical order and social status are established to oppress people in society Hierarchical Order Newspaper: African Beat- The Paper of the People 1. PK, the boss 2. James and Johnny 3. Miriam (Mouse) In his office PK burst out: “Look here, Mouse. I’ve had it with you! I’ve just had it! You bungle every job I put you on […] you lack of initiative and enterprise is driving me crazy. I have half a mind to get you fired […] Now get out of here before I start throwing something at you” (38). Johnny says: “How typical, PK. How typical of secluded. White mentality. You are so accustomed to getting the best in the land that you think you can just sit around and give orders” (55). Social Status Two social classes Low class: Johnny High class: Ruby Ruby says: “I rejected a man I love simply because in the eyes of others he would appear poor and lowly. He is poor” (49). Ruby states: “About two weeks ago I was standing on a street corner talking to Paddy and say him walking towards us with a large bunch of fish in his hand. The only thing I could think of was how ashamed I would be for Paddy to know that I had associated in a way with a man who was of such a low social standing. I just pretended I had never met him” (49). Women Degradation and Sexism To show the manner women are diminished in the sexist and patriarchal society of Africa. > Sexism: “the belief in the inherent superiority of one sex and thereby the right to dominance” (90). > According to Suzanne Daley: > “Sexism is actually a bigger problem in Africa than racism” (New York Times, 1999) > In “The Cardinals”: > Degradation of women in multiple ways represented in its main character. > Women without Identity: “I’ve already introduce her, the other man said. Her name is Mouse” (The Cardinals,14). > Women Sublimity: “You go and walk on that side of the road. She turned and walked quietly across the road” (21). > Physical Abuse: “He turn on his wife and beat her savagely” (9). > Patriarchal society: “You have to treat me with respect” (114). “I can’t handle the job of training a woman” (13). “We men have always a purpose. You women follow on behind” (109). “you are beginning to talk like a real woman” (109). •Men’s Questioning about Skills, Abilities, and Intelligence of Women: “Why don’t you give up, he said. You can’t write” (16). • Women Equals Home Tasks: “Can you cook? No. Well you’ll have to learn…You’ll have to do a little bit of cleaning up too” (57). • The Men’s Control over Women: “Cut two inches off of those hems and fix up the slips” (57) “she felt she had no automatic right to go wherever he wanted to go” (80). “Every man feels some sort of ownership for the woman he cares about” (81). “You can’t go wandering off on your own any longer. You have to consult me first. Is that clear?” (86). Conclusion If a white man falls off a chair drunk, it's just a drunk. If a Negro does, it's the whole damn Negro race. ~Bill Cosby I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~Martin Luther King, Jr. Works Cited Anti-Defamation League. 2009. 30 July 2009 <http://http://www.adl.org/hate-patrol/racism.asp>. Eilersen, Gillian. “A Brief Sketch of the Life of Bessie Head.” bessiehead.org. 12 July 2006. 30 June 2009 <http://www.bessiehead.org/biography/brief_biography.htm>. Head, Bessie. The Cardinals: with Mediations and Short Stories. Ed. M.J Daymond. Heinemann: U.S.A. 1993. Knowledgerush. 2003. 30 July 2009 <http://http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Immorali ty_Act/>. Suzanne, Daley. “To Me, It's Blatant Sexism; To South Africans, It's Not a Problem.” Womyn and Men. 11 october, 1999 in New York Times. 5 July, 2009. <http://www.womynandmen.com>. The free dictionary . Ed. Farlex. 2009. 30 June 2009 <http://http://www.thefreedictionary.com/hierarchical>.