James Dickey’s Deliverance, and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, demonstrate masculine roles in America going through a period of challenge and change brought on by historical social and political movements resulting in the cultural definition of masculinity to be widely questioned and inevitably altered in the United States. Michael Meadows states that Dickey narrativizes the negative and regressive “civil and primitive masculine roles” which were traumatic for American men during the 1970s by using the wilderness and its inhabitants as a gothic convention which antagonizes the group (128). Michael Kimmel solidifies this message of Western cultural damage on men by noting that, female and homosexual rights movements challenged both forms of civil and primitive masculinity (175). These two movements were fought for and accepted by Americans beginning in the 1970s. The rights these movements fought for irreversibly made women working equals to their male counterparts, and offered them shelter from the control, violence, and overall sexual and mental abuse that women and children had put up with since antiquity. In continuity with these changes during the 1970s, Vivian Sobchak argues, “more and more 'families ' no longer partook in behavior and standards set by bourgeois mythology. Therefore, the horror in The Shining plays out the rage of a western masculinity and fatherhood denied the economic and political benefits” of patriarchal authority and domination within the nuclear
The issue at the heart of the David Fincher film, Fight Club, is not that of man’s rebellion against a society of “men raised by women”. This is a film that outwardly exhibits itself as promoting the resurrection of the ‘ultra-male’, surreptitiously holding women accountable for the decay of manhood. However, the underlying truth of the film is not of resisting the force of destruction that is ‘woman’, or of resisting the corruption of manhood at her hand, but of penetrating the apathy needed to survive in an environment ruled by commercial desire, not need. In reality, Fight Club is a careful examination, through parody, of what it means to be a man; carefully examining the role of women in a society busy rushing towards sexual
Tall, dark, and handsome has long been the standard of a desirable man. There is undoubtedly something about a “man’s man” that is intriguing and beguiling. However, there must be a point where too much masculinity becomes a problem. As society continues to praise men with the biggest muscles, the nicest cars, and the most women, it is becoming increasingly hard to draw the line between healthy masculinity and toxic masculinity. In Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, toxic ideas about what it means to be masculine ultimately ruins several characters, but most overtly Stanley, Stella, and Blanche, showing that toxic masculinity is a threat to everyone’s well-being, both male and
Harris’s interest was the representational dialogic of racial difference within film and the real/representation dialect of cultural, gender, and sexual identity (Harris, 51). But the new images of black masculinity are problematic and limited. This was an operation of sorts, of “recoding masculinity from established, now historic, Hollywood codings of black men and black masculinity visualizes a more ambiguous, more discursive image, producing the meanings of an intricately constructed masculinity, more complexly dimensional than the submissive, docile Tom, or the morally corrupt, conniving, sexually threatening drug dealer” (Harris, 52). But these aggressive and politically charged black masculinities, now turned into these difficult ideological metaphors- they construct themselves from the existing “pop cultural and filmic representations of masculinity” (Harris, 52). Basically, Harris stated that black masculinity turned into a “fixed” culturally familiar/consumable construct; masculinity became reinforcement of singular, monologic meanings, only within different popular images. According to Robyn Weigman’s Feminism, The Boyz, and Other Matters Regarding the Male, Newsweek asserts, “Hollywood fades to black.” The primary images
In his essay, “Come Back to the Raft Ag’in, Ed Gentry,” Betina Entzminger argues that at the heart of James Dickey’s Deliverance lies the search for a lost masculinity in today’s world, told through the lens of the protagonist’s canoe trip. He asserts that Ed understands the societal pressures upon each gender, forces that compel us towards the stereotypes that pervade our culture. Further, Entzminger believes, “Despite the fact that Ed sees these constructions as constructions, he is unable to rise above them” (Entzminger). Ultimately, Entzminger posits, “Ed dutifully destroys that which challenges his own and his community’s conceptions of gender and sexuality, and he finds comfort in his return to his community at the novel’s close”
When defining the term ‘manhood’, many people may use terms such as courage, strength, or bravery. Throughout history there have been many pressures on men to be as stereotypically manly as possible. If men don’t conform to those stereotypes, they may be looked down upon by society as a whole. Richard Van Camp’s short story ‘The Night Charles Bukowski Died’ is a prime example of the dangers of nonconformity to stereotypically manly traits. The story is an intense first person stream of consciousness from the point of view of an unnamed narrator that follows the narrator and three of his peers: Mikey, Jason, and Scott. The use of metaphor, point of view, and setting in “The Night Charles Bukowski Died” exposes how stereotypical expectations of manhood can lead to dangerous situations not only physically, but also socially and emotionally.
The two texts, On the Waterfront directed by Elia Kazan, and The Crucible written by Arthur Miller, both exhibit a protagonist that is plagued by their sins and desperately seeks redemption. Through Terry Malloy’s life on the Hoboken waterfront of 1950’s America, and John Proctor’s in the Puritan society of 1962 Salem, it is clear that the act of expiating our wrongs is demanding and difficult but finally satisfying. Both texts show similarities but also differences in how the characters have sinned and betrayed their conscience and loved ones. The taxing journey of redemption is full of obstacles in which each texts’ protagonist deals with in their own unique but alike manner. Despite these unavoidable hardships, both Proctor and Malloy ultimately receive their desired redemption and gratifying outcomes. Thus, both texts show how life’s uncertainties, confusions and wrongdoings should be dealt with humanity and a clear conscience instead of fulfilling individual needs.
In many different time periods throughout America’s history, there has been an overwhelming “norm” in society that depicts the male as the most dominate member of the household. Although this is not necessarily seen in today’s society, it is not rare to find this theme present in a large number of works studied in American Literature. Two authors that illustrate this pervasive theme in their short stories are Charlotte Perkins Gilman and William Faulkner. Despite the fact that these short stories were written almost fifty years apart, the protagonists in both Gilman’s “ The Yellow Wall-paper” and Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” live in a society where they are severely conflicted because of their confinement to a patriarchal family dynamic.
The movie surveyed a wide array of the troubles faced by boys and men as they try to navigate the realm of masculinity. A common theme was the command “be a man” and the cultural baggage that comes with living up to that ideal. To “be a man” means to not cry, to not be sensitive, to not let people mess with you, to respond with violence, to be angry, to drink, to womanize.
Tobias Wolff’s memoir, ‘This Boy’s life’ explores his record of growing up in 1950’s post-war America. Frequented with tropes surrounding masculinity, identity, and relationships between individuals, Wolff retells his experiences beginning with Jack at age 10, attempting a fresh start with his mother, Rosemary, and continues throughout his adolescence, navigating toxic relationships and societal expectations. Jack’s compelling desire for a worthwhile identify results in him manifesting webs of lies and acting out in problematic means, cracking the façade of his virtuous nature. However, Rosemary’s troubled relationship complex of attracting abusive men, may act as a conduit and instigator towards Jack’s behaviour during his childhood and the
Sexuality has an inherent connection to human nature. Yet, even in regards to something so natural, societies throughout times have imposed expectations and gender roles upon it. Ultimately, these come to oppress women, and confine them within the limits that the world has set for them. However, society is constantly evolving, and within the past 200 years, the role of women has changed. These changes in society can be seen within the intricacies of literature in each era. Specifically, through analyzing The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, one can observe the dynamics of society in regards to the role of women through the lens of the theme of sexuality. In both novels, the confinement and oppression of women can be visibly seen as a result of these gender roles. Yet, from the time The Scarlet Letter was published to the time The Bell Jar was written, the place of women in society ultimately changed as well. Hence when evaluating the gender roles that are derived from sexuality, the difference between the portrayals of women’s oppression in each novel becomes apparent, and shows how the subjugation of women has evolved. The guiding question of this investigation is to what extent does the theme of sexuality reflect the expectations for women in society at the time each novel was written. The essay will explore how the literary elements that form each novel demonstrate each author’s independent vision which questions the
Through the movie’s gender, race, and class representations, Boyhood is a criticism on modern America’s ideals and desire for conformity.
Gloria Jean Watkins, known by her pen name Bell Hooks (the name of her great grandmother), was born September 25, 1952. She grew up to be the author of more than three dozen books, the topics of which range from gender, race, and class, to spirituality, and contemporary media. Hooks attended Stanford University, The University of Wisconsin, and The University of California, Santa Cruz, eventually earning her P.h.D. In her article, “Understanding Patriarchy,” Hooks argues that patriarchy isn’t only harmful to women, it’s harmful to men as well, in different ways. Patriarchy sets rigid gender roles that say women are to be docile, obedient, and nurturing, while men should be violent, dominating, and aggressive. This ideal greatly emotionally stunts men, and makes it so that they cannot express themselves in any way other than aggression. In this article, Hooks was very effective in explaining and giving examples as to why the patriarchy negatively affects both men and women, and that it is up to both to break free from these constraints and work together to end the patriarchy.
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.
In the early 20th century, America was moving up socially and economically because of the advancing technology. The standard of living was vastly improving, and people lived a much better condition; however, women were still trapped in the world of patriarchy during this time period. Patriarchy is a social system that “privileges men by promoting traditional gender roles” which casts men as “rational, strong, protective, and decisive” while woman as “emotional (irrational), weak, nurturing, and submissive” (Tyson 85). Because of such system, women are indoctrinated into the mentality that they are inferior to men. In the play, Long Day’s Journey into Night, Eugene O’Neill portrays Mary Tyrone, the female protagonist, was being oppressed