Elaine’s older brother Stephen demonstrates the way gendered socialization affects boys and girls differently. As a counterpoint to Elaine’s traumatic introduction into the social life of girls, Stephen’s childhood never taught him to fear the consequences of flouting societal rules. Because society expects a certain messiness from boys, he faces no consequences for his slovenly appearance. By university, Stephen ignores the people around him altogether, believing his classmates dull and shallow, to focus solely on science, and he suffers no consequences for this. However, as Elaine notices, Stephen’s belief that his devotion to science frees him from society often puts him in danger, such as when he’s arrested for trespassing. Stephen’s murder, however, highlights the futility of trying to detach from society. The hijackers select Stephen as a random hostage to kill, choosing him to symbolize the white western countries they fight against. Just because Stephen doesn’t see himself as relating to Canadian society doesn’t mean others cannot or will not see him that way.

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