Through establishing gender roles as one of the primary motifs in the novel, Frank Norris projects Laura as a historically distinctive character. This is evidenced through both the diction surrounding the manner and the uniqueness of her actions, comparatively. .
At the mere mention of approaching Mr. Jadwin, Laura's culturally apt sister gasped with utter exaggeration. Page's lack of "words" on the matter signify just how culturally unsound such actions were considered at this time. Her aunt, while not particularly firm on the manner, advises her not to be too daring or bold. Even Laura's personal hesitation on approaching the man suggests that such actions were erroneous. Furthermore, Jadwin's "expression of suspicion" calls the propriety of Laura's actions into question. After all, it was this very uncommonly bold deed which caused his intrigue for Laura to emerge. Also noteworthy, are the brazen comments of other characters which had witnessed this exchange, describing Laura's "none too gracious" or "grand manner." This very same flirtatious manner with which Laura approaches all of her suitors in the novel causes the reader to question the motivation behind her actions. It also allows one to view her as a character which transcends the barriers of both culture and time to become, to some extent, a woman of the twentieth century. .
The drastic cultural evolutions which have taken place over the past decades have allowed for Laura's actions to be socially accepted in American culture. Truly, a woman held back by gender barriers today would be considered sheltered as well as inopportune. However, while many aspects of American culture have evolved, the core nature of the human being seems to remain unalterable. Perhaps then, the sole reason that Laura would hesitate to approach Jaswin today could be simply descried as bashfulness or a mere insecurity forever embedded in the human personalit.