When the lights went out, she drove to town. The whole village was in the general store buying flashlights, batteries, oil lamps and fuel. She instead grabbed every candle she could get her small hands on. The thick tall ones she knew they were the best for warding; skinny tall ones which she liked because they melted quickly and could use the wax for sealing; and the thick short ones, she knew burned the brightest and longest, which she needed as the dark would not be her friend tonight. All the candles were thrown into the shopping basket she carried on her arm.
The Adaptable Man in Early 20th Century American Literature
During the late 1800s the concept of the ideal man was undergoing fundamental changes. The late 1800s were fraught with economic crashes, which changed the way men defined themselves; no longer were men independently wealthy, working under another for a short while to then become independent, self-employed and build a personal fortune. Instead, men had to spend their lives working for another, marrying and beginning domesticity later in life. Due to this shift in society the concept of ideal masculinity had to change. The redefining of masculinity needed to take place, but it was not possible within the realm of society as it was there that masculinity was floundering, and thusly the redefinition formed within spaces of nature. In 1912, in the wake of the economic failure and societal change Edgar Rice Burroughs, an American author, published two texts, Tarzan of the Apes and A Princess of Mars. Both texts dealt with men outside the realm of civilized society, in a natural space, and the male protagonists can be seen as embodying the newly defined ideal masculinity. The concept of ideal masculinity is the image by which men strived to define themselves in their changing society; reflecting how a man should be, and the qualities that would lead to his success. The ideal changed from a gangly, self-retrained and proper man to a hulking, self-sufficient and violent man. Another sign that ideal masculinity was evolving was the emergence of the popular image of the “muscular Christianity” and idealized images of rowdy expressions of masculinity (Deane 213). Nature or natural space was seen as a space outside of society, uninhibited by the rules and social mores that were debilitating the masculine identity and the ability for men to enact and hone these new ideals. In what ways did Tarzan of the Apes and A Princess of Mars use natural space to promote the changing ideals of ideal masculinity? Edgar Rice Burroughs texts Tarzan of the Apes and A Princess of Mars promote the evolving ideals of masculinity through the use of natural spaces necessitating adaptation for the achievement of masculine success.
Relationships and the Impact of Race in Literature
Same-Race and Interracial Relationships In Lamming’s The Emigrants most of the same-race relationships seen are one of a decision to join together with another person, and to support one another. This effect can be seen with characters such as the Jamaican and his girl and Tornado and Lillian, who all come together and support another. “The Jamaican and his girl usually joined Tornado and Lillian at the evening meal… As a meeting place for emigrants and their friends, it was as popular as the barber shop,” (Lamming 189-190). The passage illustrates the importance of having a system of people you rely on and the security of belonging to a community. In The Emigrants, same-race relations appear to play a vital role in surviving England, allowing for the formation of a support system in a land that is unfamiliar, and this is alluded to with the language used, in the passage, “meeting place,” “friends,” and “emigrants” creating a sense of needing to belong to a group. The depiction of same-race relations creating a community amongst themselves could perhaps be meant to represent the idea of emigrants banding together and supporting one another to succeed in the “Mother Land.”
The Virginal Good Girl and the Whore
Throughout history, popular culture in its many forms, from myths, visual art, film and television, has been a means through which society is able to create, circulate and reinforce its ideals and values. The circulated ideals and values are generated by the dominant perspective of society, which has historically been male, and are often directed towards managing the behaviour of women. One of the most prominently circulated values is the binary of women as either a whore or a virgin. Historically, the virgin is a celebrated figure; loyal, demure, religious, and subservient to man, while the whore is damned, looked down upon by society, with her sexuality as her weapon and resistant to the dominance of the man. In the face of these ideals, women challenged the binary of the virgin and whore, and have strived to achieve equality between men and women. Contemporarily arguments have been made that as a society we have achieved gender equality: Women are able to work in fields that are perceived to masculine fields, men are able to take parental leave to spend time with newborn children. Even in the face of gendered advancements, it can be argued that as a society, we are still far from true gender equality as there is still not equality within gender. The binary of the virgin and the whore still persists, and is actively circulated by popular culture, much the same as it was throughout history, and because of this women are judged and valued based on how society perceives them, and are not valued equally.
’28 PEOPLE LEFT DEAD AFTER CIRCUS TRAIN DERAILS,’ lay emblazoned across the front page of the newspaper one dark and dreary Sunday morning in late October. The leaves had already fallen from the trees, laying prone amongst the roots, dead, in mottled oranges and sickly brown, carpeting the roads and sidewalks, and it appeared their seasonal death had acted as prophesy to a more tragic one.
Women and Their Unique World
Many feminists argue that women have a unique way of seeing the world. The question then becomes: is their unique way of seeing based on some essential characteristic of womanhood, or is their sight based on their unique socio-economic and political experiences? Or is there something intrinsically different about women that make their experience in the world unique compared to that of men? I argue that a woman’s unique way of seeing the world is because their “essential characteristics” are defined and constructed by their socio-economic and political experiences as women. I see that “woman,” as a constructed gender, is meant to embody characteristics that societal, economical, and political institutions have prescribed so as to maintain dominant ideologies; masculine superiority, the passivity of women, the Madonna/whore dichotomy, and concepts of femininity. With this paper, I will demonstrate the means in which the socio-economic and political experiences of women creates and perpetuates their essential characteristics and how both function to shape women’s unique way of seeing the world.