Boys don't cry?: rethinking narratives of masculinity and by Milette Shamir, Jennifer Travis

By Milette Shamir, Jennifer Travis

We take without any consideration the concept white, middle-class, instantly masculinity connotes overall regulate of feelings, emotional inexpressivity, and emotional isolation. That males repress their emotions as they search their fortunes within the aggressive worlds of commercial and politics seems a given. This number of essays by way of admired literary and cultural critics rethinks such in most cases held perspectives through addressing the historical past and politics of emotion in winning narratives approximately masculinity. How did the tale of the emotionally stifled U.S. male come into being? What are its political stakes? Will the "release" of heterosexual, white, middle-class masculine emotion remake current kinds of energy or strengthen them? This assortment forcefully demanding situations our so much entrenched principles approximately male emotion. via readings of works via Thoreau, Lowell, and W. E. B. Du Bois, and of 20th century authors akin to Hemingway and Kerouac, this ebook questions the patience of the emotionally alienated male in narratives of white middle-class masculinity and addresses the political and social implications of male emotional liberate.

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Additional resources for Boys don't cry?: rethinking narratives of masculinity and emotion in the U.S.

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Such a reconsideration guides Stephen Davenport’s analysis in chapter 8 of the next generation’s critical master narrative, that of man’s escape from society, family, and history. This critical master narrative, Davenport shows, reduces the interpretation of male flight in mid-century literature to a contrast of inevitable failures: failure to act as a responsible adult and family man or failure to escape from the conventions and emotional guilt that society deploys to tie a man down. ” In flight, that is, the hero does not renege but, rather, renegotiates the relationship between family and freedom, “career” and “careening,” the responsibilities of “place” and the openendedness of “space,” always careful not to stray from the liminal position of second male, a position that allows him to continue the emotional work made possible by flight itself.

Qxd 12/26/01 10:45 Page 19 Introduction It does not contain the counternarratives of gay, immigrant, or working-class men. It has only little to say on the perspective of Southerners or women. 29 It is important to note that such categories as race and sexuality are by no means absent as analytical categories from this collection. They are present, for instance, in Carton’s analysis of affective manhood, shown to reach its limits when encountering a black slave, later to revive itself by projecting feelings onto Indians.

Goffman’s description is quoted in Kimmel, Manhood in America, p. 5. qxd 12/26/01 10:45 Page 20 S H A M I R A N D T R AV I S 2. Baym, “Melodramas of Beset Manhood”; Kimmel, Manhood in America, p. 9 (emphasis in original). 3. “Code Hero” was termed by Philip Young; see Thomas Strychacz’s essay in this volume. “American Cool” is analyzed most extensively by Peter Stearns in a book by that title. While the book does not emphasize “coolness” as a particularly masculine emotional style, recent work insists on gendering it.

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