Just a quarter into the novel, The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd has proven to be worthy of the phrase it has received from awards and book clubs across the country. One of the themes that has surfaced in the life of Sarah Grimke is gender expectations. All her life, she has had ambitions to become a lawyer, just like her father. However this Sarah’s dream is turned down when she is only allowed to take lessons in simpler subjects such as drawing and sewing. When she suggests she would like to become a lawyer, her mother even says, “A lawyer, Sarah? The idea is so outlandish I feel I have failed you bitterly” (Kidd 80). This displays that Southern women have certain morals and standards to live up too, and it would be a crime to defy those standards. Gender expectations is also seen when her mother is forced to run a traditional Southern Household and have religious and social duties in the upper class Charleston Society. Having a women be required to uphold duties that are not desired reveals the pressure that is given with the reasoning that they must act a certain way to not be shamed in their society.
The theme of Gender Expectations is just one of the concepts that overlaps with To Kill A Mockingbird. Because her mother is never around to take care of her, Sarah has a African American slave that takes her role as a mother. This maid, Binah, can be compared to Calpurnia because of the morals lessons they teach their children and their influence in their upbringing. Scout and Sarah are similar characters because they are both portrayed as tomboys. This characteristic brings them both negative attention by society, who tries to conform them to act more like ladies.