Paper 2 - Paper #2 October 24, 2011 Choosing Masculinity...

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Paper #2 October 24, 2011 Choosing Masculinity Over Happiness Masculinity is defined as the ability to have “qualities pertaining to a man”. The qualities that define men, such as being strong, and a breadwinner, are shown in many areas of media. One major method, that concretes the characteristics of a man in the minds of the masses, is media through advertisement. Another way that masculinity is defined is by literature. Finally, following the example of well-revered men, can also define “being a man”. There are many ways to “be a man.” Post-war America, considered to be conservative compared to modern day America, made masculinity a very important value for all men to have. In the Novel, Giovanni’s room, the main character, David, has a major self-identity crisis. David wants to be a “man”. He has the desires that a heterosexual male would have such as a family and to live the American Dream. He has the desire to be a breadwinner of a family. His father would prefer for him to be a play boy, a man that doesn’t settle and was able to be with multiple women. However, when David realizes that he is attracted to Giovanni, the problem emerges. In post war America, being homosexual was not a commonly accepted idea. The idea of two men being together was not accepted and the idea of those two men raising children was even more unaccepted. This is why David felt the need to choose between Giovanni and being a man. The relationships between David and Hella and David and Giovanni are very different. With Hella, David plays on his masculinity to be the man that Hella wants. With Giovanni, David can be himself, and fool around and have fun. Hella wants a man that is going to support her and help her raise a family. Giovanni just wants to be with David because he is in love with
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him. In the end, the deep desire to conform to the norms that post war America wanted overpowered the desire to be with Giovanni. In this book, the way that David describes all women proves that he is a homosexual
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This note was uploaded on 12/02/2011 for the course ENG 270 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at UMass (Amherst).

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Paper 2 - Paper #2 October 24, 2011 Choosing Masculinity...

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