Are there particular stereotypes that are used frequently?
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This depends so much on what types of literature you are talking about. There are many stereotypes that are used in various kinds of literature. We can see these going back almost as long as literature has been around. For example, in The Odyssey, we have the stereotype of the hero who fights on through tremendous obstacles to achieve his goals. We also have the stereotype of the femme fatale (Circe) using her charms to beguile and destroy men. Such stereotypes abound in literature.
I think there are...stereotypes are largely universal, but some are distinct to culture and region. For example, in many cultures the "con artist" is a typical stereotype. You see this in many stories set in the southern region of the Unites States. One that particularly stands out for me is "Good Country People" by Flannery O'Conner, where a Bible salesman (ironic, to say the least) goes around ripping people off and stealing from them.
Other stereotypes include bullies/villains, heros (with or without flaws), women who need to be taken care of, women who have loose morals, the drug addict, the tattle tale, the mother or mother-figure, the brainy one, the brave one, the coward, etc. I am sure you can think of multiple stories where these stereotypes occur (Star Wars, Beowulf, Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, even modern tales like Twilight and Harry Potter).
Of course. Some stereotypes are so universal that they actually become characters....think Commedia Del Arte. The stock characters of the angry father, the enginue, the lover, the clown, etc. are simply stereotypes brought to life on stage.
Some are harmless, and some are hurtful, but in literature or drama I think they are the easy way out. Stereotypical characters are flat and uninteresting and unrealistic. In real life (and in characters) the really interesting people are the ones that are not black and white, but shades or gray.
I find that gender stereotypes are more common than ethnic or racial ones in modern day literature. It is easier to slide references to traditional expectations of the roles of men and women into literature without controversy than it is to use racial stereotypes.
But perhaps no group of people is more stereotyped, in film or literature, than homosexuals, who are often very narrowly described, defined and characterized.
This is such a broad question as to be almost impossible to address. Previous posts have listed many common stereotypes found throughout history in varied types of literature. Obviously, stereotypes are found in other locations and media, too. I Love Lucy epitomized the stereotype of the ditsy airhead wife. All In the Family featured Archie Bunker as the ultimate stereotypical bigot.
Were you looking at use of stereotypes in a particular medium?
I agree with #6. Unfortunately, gender stererotypes appear to be far more ubiquitous than other kinds of stereotypes, and seem to be omnipresent in our culture. The socially constructed roles of men and women are used to enforce stereotypes in terms of jobs that men and women should and shouldn't do, and the kind of career aspirations that both genders have every day.
I have a very personal opinion about this: Even though the black/white stereotypes are now being more monitored for fear of an accusation of racial prejudice, the fact remains that Hispanics and Asians do not enjoy such monitoring. As a Hispanic, I have seen that there are roles often specifically assigned to us such as housekeepers, nannies, believers of Santeria, and/or the criminals from the lower parts of New York. Whether this is reality or not, the fact is that the image continues to be perpetuated and it seems as if that is the only thing expected from us. I am not complaining, however. I am just making that small observation.
Equally, the Asian population from Japan, Korea, China, and even Thailand continuously appear in the film industry in very limited roles. Why can't a Chinese woman appear in a mainstream industry character as something other than a Karate fighter, or an Asian mob princess? That is just what I observe, as a minority, that does not seem to get fixed quick enough.
Southern Gothic fiction employs several stereotypes among which are the flim-flam man, the city slicker, the country bumpkin, the Yankee, the religious impostor. The antebellum stereotypes such as the Southern belle and gentleman are often used to show corruption or flawed natures. Certainly, William Faulkner employs these types in several of his works as does Tennesse Williams. Moreover, Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird maimed black man, Tom Robinson, is a stereotype that is exploded in the novel.
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