Under Milk Wood

The relationship between Tom and Maggie in Books 1 & 2

I think most of the problems with Tom and Maggie's relationship are due to the fact that Tom thinks that females are inferior to males. He therefore thinks that Maggie is inferior to him and he shows this in the way that he treats Maggie.

Tom and Maggie both have a strong relationship with their father so therefore he could have influenced Tom's thoughts. "She'll fetch none the bigger price for that", their dad said this, and by it he means that even though Maggie is clever she won't do any better as regards to marriage. This is a very sexist way for Tom and Maggie's dad to talk about Maggie, as if females are only supposed to get married and produce children and that their intelligence doesn't matter.

If Tom's dad thinks like that it could be from his dad that Tom gets his sexist nature: "I told you girls couldn't learn Latin", this is one of the most openly sexist comments Tom makes in the book. Tom very strongly gets his point across by using harsh words such as "told" and "couldn't". This shows how inferior he feels females are, he said, "I told you" almost scornfully as if he's trying to say that if he said it, it must be right which isn't the case. Tom's complete sexist attitude is shown by the word "girls" here he generalises about any females ability to learn Latin although I'm sure that isn't the case and he just makes the comment purely because of his sexist nature.

Tom's sexism isn't just used against his sister, he uses it to put others down as well, "like a girl's: Tom thought that truly pitiable". The sexism Tom is showing here is by discriminating against Philip due to his hair apparently looking like a girls. He describes this as "truly pitiable" which shows how strongly he feels. Tom uses the word "girl" as an insult as if by calling Philip a girl he feels he has insulted him. This is a very sexist attitude, as he shouldn't be discriminating against females in this way.

Whenever Maggie acts in a way that Tom wouldn't, Tom automatically says she acts in that way, as she is a girl, "girlish way of taking things". This quotation is where Maggie gets agitated and Tom blames that on the fact that she's a girl. Tom doesn't think that boys get agitated, but girls do due to their inferior status. He said Maggie took it in a "girlish way" which is probably not the case, it's just the fact that Maggie doesn't hide her feelings. As Tom does hide his feelings he treats Maggie's not hiding her feelings as a fault, he does this as he feels everything he does is correct and anyone who does something different to him is wrong. Tom blames the difference in his and Maggie's characters on the fact that Maggie is a girl.

Tom puts all girls into the same category; he has a prejudice against some females before he has even met them, "all girls were silly". Tom says "all" meaning every single girl, he doesn't know every girl so he can't really say "all girls" which is where his prejudice against females is clearly shown.

I think that Tom's sexist comments had some effect on Maggie's personality, "Tom must be right", here Maggie doesn't say Tom could be right, she says that Tom " must" be right as if she is saying that just because Tom is saying it that it is right. Maggie feels that Tom is right and that he is more intelligent than her, "Maggie thought this sort of knowledge was very wonderful - much more difficult than remembering what was in the books", here Maggie is expressing her intelligence as inferior to Tom's. The reason that Maggie thought this knowledge was so wonderful was probably partly down to the fact that it was Tom that had the knowledge. As Maggie had such respect for Tom and she always felt Tom was right, as she had different types of knowledge and different ways of behaving to Tom she automatically thought that her ways were wrong as they were different to Tom's.

When Tom thinks to the future he thinks