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The Whole Town

             Literature presents insights into many aspects of life but is also a conveyor of values, naturalising certain ways of understanding ourselves and the world. This is especially true of "The Whole Town's Sleeping" by Ray Bradbury. Built on the dominant ideologies of the time, the text through its representations, language, and plot constructs what was normal or acceptable behaviour for men and women.
             "The Whole Town's Sleeping" reveals a society where women are weak, fragile and vulnerable, They were the victims of violence inflicted by men, and had to constantly be alert and wary, guarding themselves from any possible danger. While it was considered totally safe and normal for men to go out alone at night, women only belonged in the day, and with darkness were expected to lock themselves away from awaiting threats. This brings across the idea that women should always be protected, and that any woman who ventures out without any form of protection is foolish.
             Though Lavinia tries as hard as she can to conceal her inferiority, she is still very much a woman, and is thereby vulnerable ("The heat pulsed under your dress and along your legs with a stealthy sense of invasion."). The story endorses the idea that women who do not take proper care of themselves, and try to be independent are to blame for whatever happens to them. The blame is shifted on to the victim, and little fault is attached to the male who commits the crime.
             The story shows that it was foolish for Lavinia to try to be strong and independent and that she can never deny the fact that she is woman, and thereby weak and vulnerable. She can never be as strong or powerful as a man and is destined to the weaker subservient position. Lavinia, despite her strong appearance, gets frightened (Lavonia felt her heart going loudly within her and she was cold too) when she sees the dead body, and can only try to forget it. The story is constructed in such a way that as it progresses, Lavinia is confronted with even more danger, and her apparent confidence is gradually stripped away.

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