The manner of writing can reveal numerous details about the storyteller, including particular character traits, perception of the world, and even the gender of a person who wrote a story. It is what I will try to do in this paper – guess the gender of the speaker analyzing the texts they have written.
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The first way to determine the sex by studying the text is to search the details that might prompt the answer, for example, personal and possessive pronouns, etc. It helped me in defining that the author of the love story with a black woman was a man.
In fact, this decision was obvious because the author highlighted his gender throughout the story. First, he told me about his childhood experience, noting that, as a little boy, he was not ready for the intimacy of the first kiss. Second, he wrote about joining the Navy that is generally a male experience. Finally, he shared a story of creating a family with a black woman. So, everything points to the fact that a writer is a man.
The same approach can be applied to the story of a person depressed because of the divorce and a mate having an affair. The passage was written by a female, and it is understood by the obvious details, such as mentioning that it was a husband who cheated on the author. Later, another detail is revealed – the fact that the author was left a home-stay mom that only proves that the writer was a female. These stories, except for direct pointing out to the gender of the storyteller, have a little difference – the mood of writing.
It is believed that men and women write stories in a differing manner. For example, women use shorter sentences and are emotional, while men formulate their thoughts in longer sentences and mention facts and arguments (Jones & Myhill, 2007). True, if we look closer at them, the first story is a set of arguments (acceptance of children by other women or forcing the parents to accept son’s choice if they love him) while the second one is more emotional and includes many short sentences that prove that the writer was in a depressive mood and did not know what to do next.
Sometimes it is complicated to determine the gender of the storyteller. For example, it was in the case of the story about a person who had six half-brothers and sisters left by their biological father. At first, it seemed to me that the author was a man because of recollecting the fact about joining the military, but the last paragraph reveals the truth about the narrator, who was married before and now has a husband. Moreover, the author is described as having a ‘daddy’s girl complex,’ so the conclusion is obvious – the teller is a woman.
What can also be used for determining the gender of a storyteller is the female perspective of the events and drawing the line between the lifestyles of men and women (Giles & Doan, 2016). It can be applied to the story of a person who had a drug addict friend and a conversation they had on a narrator’s birthday. Pedicure as a birthday gift and stressing that a female is a best friend together with the use of short, emotional sentences hint that the author of the story is a woman. Without these points, it would have been impossible to guess the gender.
Finally, it is also considered that men are more powerful in writing and oral activities than women because they are judged more harshly (Peterson & Kennedy, 2006). This approach was used to analyzing the story of African American recollecting experience of working at the Air Force Base. The story is well-structured and includes long sentences. The author also mentions the fact that many friends joined the military, especially bearing in mind that the story had place during the 1980s, the conclusion is that an author is a man because it was unlikely for women to act so.
Giles, T., & Doan, W. J. (2016). The Naomi story – the book of Ruth: From gender to politics. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books.
Jones, S., & Myhill, D. (2007). Discourses of difference? Examining gender differences in linguistic characteristics of writing. Canadian Journal of Education, 30(2), 456-466, 468-482.
Peterson S., & Kennedy, K. (2006). Sixth grade teachers’ written comments on student writing: Genre and gender influences. Written Communication, 23(1), 36-62.