Masculinity During the Depression and 1930s
Examines the significance of masculinity in America following The Civil War and The Great Depression.
This essay examines the significance of masculinity within an America that was finding its feet following The Civil War and The Great Depression. The paper also considers the importance of the development of the self within a country that was itself developing at a great rate and the conflicts that resulted. The paper uses references to “Waiting for Lefty” in its examination.
“In the texts that we have studied during this course, masculinity has been a recurring theme. Questions were raised on Hemingway’s masculinity and sexuality early on in the course and the issue of masculinity is important, directly and indirectly, in understanding aspects of all the texts especially The Big Sleep and Native Son. But why should masculinity be represented so strongly in the texts of this period? Firstly, we must acknowledge that the books I have mentioned have males as main characters. This makes masculinity a difficult topic to ignore but it must also be realized that the presence of a male character does not explain the strength of the theme in these novels. Although the masculine theme is abundant throughout the texts I have chosen to concentrate on Waiting for Lefty because it deals concisely with subtly different areas of masculinity which are related to the cultural and political structure of the United States during the depression. To understand this, we must examine United States history in order to relate the overriding cultural ideologies to the literature being produced. ”