Masculinity in Deliverance by James Dickey Essay

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Masculinity in Deliverance by James Dickey

The novel Deliverance by James Dickey portrays the essence of middle-aged men experiencing the mid-life crisis through which they must prove to themselves and more importantly every one else that they still possess the strength, bravery, intelligence, and charm believed to be society's ideal of "masculinity." Dickey's four main characters undertake a risky adventure to satisfy their egotistical complexes and prove to the world that they are still the strong young men their wives married. Each character represents a different stereotype of the middle-aged man, and therefore experiences a different type of psychological and physical journey than their peers.
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Drew's innocence and morality is truly displayed when he is the only one among these four men who wants to report the death of the local man to the police. He does not want to be part of any wrong; however, he is given no heed due to the immorality of the others. Here comes into play the parallelism of this novel to the occurrence of the Vietnam War. For in the Vietnam War, all common moralities and values were thrown away to fit the environment in which we were fighting. Here, all the men except Drew disregard the morals of the civilized world to survive in this unfamiliar territory where they have willingly placed themselves. That may be one reason that Drew is the one to be shot and drowned alone and later discovered: he dies because he cannot survive - it is, in essence, the survival of the fittest. Here is another parallel to the Vietnam era in that Drew's death is used as a lie and as an excuse. His death is used as a cover up, an event occurring often during the war. Because he is the moral central of the group, his death is a deep loss. It is a loss because Drew is the best of them all; he is the most genuine. Bobby Trippe was very social and seemed to enjoy the life he led, as did Drew. It is this social man however; who is the victim of forced sodomy by local river people. However, it is because of this social nature that Bobby recoups to his former self after the conclusion of

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