In Hossein’s Kite Runner, Hassan’s fate is obvious. Why? What has he done—what reasons are revealed—that inevitably result in the way society views him? One might argue that he has violated several of the social standards that define a rigidly prescribed sense of “manhood.” If so, what are they, and why do they result in the cruelty this character experiences? How does Amir’s guilt speak to his own betrayal of the masculine code? What role do fathers play? And why does the role of father—in this novel and beyond—seem to be so complicated? How does Emerson’s position on non-conformity speak to what happens in this novel? Is this Emersonian concept, one which was intended to be empowering, actually impossible to attain—at least without punishment?
Additionally, looking at the idea of masculinity, what is the true definition? Is it inevitably toxic? Looking at the two articles by Jullian Williams “The Gift thats keep on Giving: Rape, Social Outrage and Rise of Sexual assault as an Entertainment” and article “Rambling in search of Answers” do movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up signal a shift in the global power structure that has historically been centered on male supremacy? Are “being a man” and outwardly demonstrating “masculinity” concepts that inevitably endanger women? How does Newsom’s documentary speak to the need for change? What does Newsom reveal about how difficult the call to “Be a man!” actually is? Add movie Fight Club to this argument: What does “manhood” have to do with fighting? And why must men, according to the film, fight? In that same regard, how does the Emersonian notion of being “whole” play into this? How do those interviewed in Newsom’s documentary speak to the issues that “Fight Club” and Emerson bring to light? Blend into the argument the pain expressed from the males seeking answers in movie “Claudine” of 1974. Why is their struggle the same as the other films and essays, yet distinctly different. Alongside the specific look at the movie, also ask and try to answer these questions: Based on the definitions, expectations, and character traits for maleness and manhood, where does the gay male fit? Does his distinctly different path negate the ability to encompass all that is “man”? If so, why? If not, why?
How do all the examinations we’ve examined around “being man” speak to the world we live in today? Has anything changed? Are things better? Worse? And why is all of this so complicated?
Make sure to include:
Throughout your essay’s argument, look at how the female characters are portrayed in the films, articles, and the novel. What roles do they perform in how males view manhood? Do they aid them or distract? Are they friend or foe? Consider the herd mentality/deindividuation and intersectionality: how do these psychological/sociological lenses alter the way we conceptualize the societal insistence to “Be a man”?
Throughout your essay, determine what commentary the books and films make on manhood, and in what ways do these artistic interpretations define, alter, or shape the lives of the characters who are portrayed as irrevocably damaged.
• Paper should weave source discussions that we have uncovered while researching these texts and films, including any laws, cultural considerations, statistics, and sociological/psychological/philosophical principles discussed.
• Throughout the work, feel free to introduce any films or literature we have examined this semester that will support your argument.
• Secondary sources—sources assigned/viewed this summer but not listed above—are required (at least six).
• Paper must have quotes documented and cited throughout that support the writer’s argument.
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