Last Updated 10 Mar 2020

Class and Gender Roles in Raising Arizona

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In the film Raising Arizona, the scene where HI and Ed are sitting outside with Dot discussing the needs of Nathan Jr. is one that relates to our studies of America on Film. The concepts of Class and Gender roles are evident in this scene. HI and Ed can be considered part of the lower-middle class. Glen and Dot are part of the upper-middle class. One of the ways that the film distinguishes between them is that Glen’s job as supervisor shows that he has a more respectable job with higher income.

Also, Glen and Dot have many children that they adopted. They are able to support all those children and are actually looking for another one to adopt. This concept of Class also relates to how each couple fits into their gender roles. Prior to marrying HI, Ed had somewhat of a career as a policewoman. She was providing for herself. HI on the other hand, was constantly in and out of prison for robbing the same convenience store. After the marriage, and having obtained Nathan Jr. , they each assimilated into their perspective gender roles.

HI left his life of crime behind and got a job to support the family. Ed left her job behind and became a housewife. It was important to mention this before discussing the scene at the lunch table with Dot. The way that HI and Ed fit into their gender roles, and the fact that they are in a lower class than Glen and Dot, shapes the way the conversation takes place. During this conversation, Dot is telling Ed about all the things that they must do for Nathan Jr. Every time Dot mentions something to Ed, Ed looks to HI for answers.

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At this point, Ed playing the role of the housewife looks to her husband, the provider and man of the house, for all the answers. Class also comes into play at this moment. HI has no clue what the woman are talking about. Since we don’t know much of HI’s past, we can only presume that since he was constantly robbing that store, he has been part of the lower class. HI has no experience in these kinds of things like flu shots and trust funds. Class is also evident here when you consider that Dot is aware of all these things.

Since she is part of the upper-middle class, she has responsibilities, or at least knows how to take care of these things. So even though Dot is a housewife and Glen provides for the family, because they are part of the higher class than Ed and HI, it slightly changes the responsibilities of the gender roles. That was a scene that stuck out, at first only the way each person fit into their gender roles. Only after giving it some thought did I come to the realization that Class plays a factor on Gender roles.

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