Fall of Man Depicted in Atwood's Backdrop Addresses Cowboy
The sexual politics of the man-woman relationship, or more specifically the sexual exploitation of women by men, is a clear concern in Margaret Atwood's "Backdrop Addresses Cowboy." Although the oppressor-as-male theme is by no means an original source of poetic inspiration, Atwood's distinction is that she views the destructive man-woman relationship as a metaphor for, symptom and symbol of, bigger things. From the vantage-point of feminine consciousness, Margaret Atwood empahsizes the "backdrop" as being not only the woman, but also the land and the spiritual life of the universe; the "cowboy" is both a man bent on personal gain (possibly an American based …show more content…
Perhaps the creation of a relatively structureless poem intentionally suggests by Atwood that no adequate structure exists to make the images of pain and death meaningful.
The literal meaning of the first stanza is not difficult to grasp as it introduces an actor portraying a cowboy against a western backdrop on a movie set. "Starspangled" suggests his costume is less than authentic and is worn more for commercial appeal than factual representation. "The almost-silly west" and "paper-mache cactus" perpetuate the artifice of the western movie by setting a scene which relies on props and phony imagery. Even the actor's "porcelain grin" is weak and easily broken. The implicit reality of this stanza is that the cowboy is a symbol of Americanism. he represents the triumph og man over nature, the "taming" of the west. the cowboy embodies imperialistic strength and he is idolized for his heroism by millions of people who are influenced by mass-media propaganda, namely, the western movie.
The second stanza, though only two lines in length and undifferentiate by lack of punctuation, carries a powerful message. the cowboy's virtue is directly compared to the dangerous, criminal potential of a bullet in a simile
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
Masculine’s definition is stereotypically twisted. The myth and reality of the cowboy shaped today’s definition of masculinity because they have this high and strong structure they need to uphold. Masculinity is having the traditional acts as a man, such as being strong and secure. In today’s world man and women have two different mindsets. Even though we are all humans, our gender defines the way we should act due to how society makes it. The myth has affected males physically, emotionally and mentally. The idea is that they are supposed to act accordingly. In reality, everyone wants to grow up differently, so why would they be forced to act/be a certain way?
The life of a ranch girl is unknown to many people across America. In Maile Meloy’s Ranch Girl, a female narrator brings the reader into her hard life being raised as a ranch girl. Through many different literary devices including, tone, mood, and characterization, the writer set the reader to feel everything the narrator depicts and the reader ingested with a heavier impact than the reader anticipates. The obligation to the community for the ranch girl is to break all stereotypes, thus showing her community and all ranch girls alike that she can be successful and break free of the ranch girl life.
Another major display of a shift in gender roles is the infamous anal rape scene. Ed and Bobby, who is the most effeminate of the group, are taken captive by two (likely) inbred woodland men. These men, pariahs to society, become embodiments of the defilement of nature experienced earlier in the novel, the trash in the river and the poultry processing plant. To Dickey, Man’s encroachment upon nature has not only led to the industrialization that plows fields and fells forests, or littered the wild with our excess and excrement, it has made humanity unable to reunite itself with nature. Once man has defiled a region with our technology and our influence, we may never go back “Dickey's novel suggests that there is no free territory…” (Entzminger). These mountain men have ostracized themselves from society, searching for a way to shake off the shackles of cultural expectation. However, in their attempt to become one with nature they have simply perverted it.
The male hero could be said to be portrayed in Atwood’s poem “Backdrop addresses cowboy” by the cowboy. The cowboy is a clichéd symbol of masculinity made famous by the Western film industry of America. One can immediately conjure him up, square-jawed and handsomely rugged in Stetson and spurred boots, galloping around on his trusty steed rescuing damsels in distress with whom he intends on riding off romantically into the sunset with. This is however not the cowboy that we are confronted with in the poem.
The presentation of femininity in Doctorow's Welcome to Hard Times is a strong departure from the heroine of Zane Grey's Riders of the Purple Sage. Through the metaphor of the gun as the embodiment of masculinity, both authors closely examine the complexities of the sexualized relationship of a frontierswoman to the men of her society. Doctorow mirrors the tensions present in Grey's novel though Molly acts as an extraordinarily different vision of what the West required of a woman than Jane Withersteen. Both novels reach a sexual climax as the heroine engages the men of her society in a violent action of blood and birth.
In the opening scene of Jane Martin’s “Rodeo,” there are many stereotypical props used to portray the beer-drinking, hard-working, cowboy image with the characteristic country music playing as an added touch. Most people are familiar with this type of scene in their minds, with a man as the character, but not this time – we find a tough, smart, opinionated woman with a distinctively country name of Lurlene, and the typical cowboy kind of nickname, Big Eight. The reader will dive deeper into the true character of this unusual woman and realize that she is no different from the average woman in today’s workforce. She is feeling the frustration of discrimination and the push out of the only lifestyle that she knows, by “Them” (1667).
As he is escaping through the swamp, he hears ‘nothing’, for the first ever time. He then realises that the silence is coming from a girl, she is the first girl Todd has ever seen. Both novels show the hierarchy of men and women and how gender inequality and sexism is something that is so recent, but has also been a really big problem and debate for a very long time, and that maybe we haven’t addressed the problem completely. They both show us difficult relationships, with all the blame usually being put on the woman even if she had done nothing wrong. Section
The final stanza, the symbolism “The blacksmith’s boy hung the rainbow on his shoulder, instead of his broken gun” once again reflects on the human capability of change and adaptation as well as marking independency. Hyperbole, “and the rainbow shone as brightly
In an influential essay, Melody Graulich notes how “rigid dichotomizing of sex roles” in most frontier myths has “often handicapped and confused male as well as female writers,” (Graulich 187). Graulich wonders if a “universal mythology” might emerge which would be less confining for both men and women. In Bruce Mason, Wallace Stegner experiments with this idea by acknowledging the power of Bo’s male fantasies and Elsa’s ability to teach her son to feel; this is his strength. On the other hand, Bruce’s brother Chet, who dies young, lost, and broken, seems doomed because he lacked sufficient measure of both the feminine and masculine. Stegner observes that Chet had “enough of the old man to spoil him, enough of his mother to soften him,
First, it is critical to understand the conventional, prescribed positions of men and women within the Western genre. According to John G. Cawelti’s The Six-Gun Mystique Sequel, most Westerns follow specific character setup. The hero (man), the savage (bad guy), and the woman characters form a figurative, triangular relationship. The woman often comes between the dichotomous, battling relationship of hero and savage. There is also the underlying threat that the woman could be captured and raped by the savage, but the hero will eventually defeat the savage to protect her. It is also worth noting that the woman represents civilization. The man, at his core, is always caught between the monogamous, repressive life that the woman and town
causes the poem to flow, and thus lightens up the dark and serious issue of war. The lines "But ranged as infantry, And staring face to face, I shot at him as he at me, And killed him in his place." are easy to read; however, their meaning is extremely
“Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway and “Happy Endings” by Margaret Atwood share a gender-oriented theme. They both show women struggling to attain equality against their male partners. This theme is depicted through the use of symbolism, point of view and plot conflict.
Akin to the barrenness that Poe was obviously feeling at the time he wrote this poem, most detail is stripped away except for the most basic imagery of the sea, the shore and the heavens.
The raison d’etre of the Western is arguably to celebrate masculinity, but Brokeback Mountain is a revisionary Western that challenges definitions of masculinity. Discuss this statement with reference to Jane Marie Gaines’s and Charlotte Cornelia Herzog’s comments on the homoeroticism of the Western.