Masculinity portrayed in the Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, and The Glass Menagerie

Topics: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Man Pages: 2 (719 words) Published: January 1, 2009
Masculinity is a well known stereotype that often defines men as being tough, strong, and having no emotions. In most cases, their work tends to identify their level of masculinity. In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Great Gatsby by Scott F. Fitzgerald, and The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, the male characters create their identities through their abilities to provide for their families. In these three texts, the males portray their masculinity by their roles as head of the family and their work and wealth.

As a tradition in many cultures, the males assume the position as head of the family. In most cases, their family responsibilities and obligations establish their masculinity. Pa was the head of the family now (Steinbeck 139). In The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, Pa became the leader of the family after Grandpa died. Pa took over Grandpas role in the family and was responsible for the whole family in result. Traditionally, the position of the family leader is passed down to the eldest male. Similar to Pa in The Grapes of Wrath, Tom in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, demonstrated his masculinity as the head of the household after his father had abandoned the family. I mean that as soon as Laura has got somebody to take care of her, married, a home of her own, independent -- Why, then youll be free to go wherever you please, on land, on sea, whichever way the wind blows you! (Williams 35). Tom is obligated to support his family, especially his crippled sister Laura, until she finds a husband. Because Tom was the only male in his sister and mothers lives, he had to assume household responsibilities, as most men did for their families. Ultimately, Pa and Tom expose their masculinity by obtaining the duties of being in charge of their families.

Customarily, a mans masculinity is defined through his wealth, occupation, or means of work. Throughout society, it is a stereotype that if a man makes a sufficient amount of money...
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