A-Level English Lit - Masculinity

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  • Theme of masculinity
    • Toxic masculinity
      • My Antonia - Mr Shimerda dies as he is unable to survive and adapt
      • The Great Gatsby - Gatsby believes that he can "repeat the past" and solve all of his problems. He believes that he has to be strong in order to
      • The Grapes of Wrath - Tom, Grampa and Pa feel helpless due to the female dominance within the novel. Since they have been conditioned by society to be the most powerful in the family, a role of less importance than a women feels alien to them
    • Female dependence on men
      • My Antonia - Antonia begs Jim not to forget her father. "You won't forget my father. Jim?". Possessive pronoun of "my" shows how men objectify women
      • The Great Gatsby - Daisy, although torn between Tom and Gatsby, fully recognises that she needs to have a man in order to survive. Although she chooses Tom in the end, there is never a moment where she considers leaving and being an independent woman
      • The Grapes of Wrath - shows how men, uniquely, are NOT as dependent on men as many other works of American Literature. Ma is the "citadel" of the family, and is the backbone of the Joad family
    • Male dominance over women
      • My Antonia - possessive pronoun of "my" in the title of the novel shows how men objectify women, and even thought Antonia ends up doing what she loves by raising a family, she is still subject to male demands
      • The Great Gatsby - Tom is dominant over Daisy both physically and socially, as he has the great amount of wealthy that Daisy needs in order to prevent her own destruction
      • The Grapes of Wrath - reversal of gender stereotypes. Ma is not dominated over women. Furthermore, Grampa's death before Granma's death shows how Steinbeck is challenging gender norms within American society, and depicts them as strong and viable members of society


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