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Bernard Coopers Burls - Literature review Example

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 This essay analyses the story Bernard Cooper’s “Burls” which discussing a boy growing up in 1950s America and coming to terms with his homosexuality. The essay discusses the separate gender lines in the worlds of his mother and father’s closets. …
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Bernard Coopers Burls
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Download file to see previous pages There was his father’s uninviting cave of ties, mothballs and poor lighting, or his mother’s haven of perfumes, high heels, and makeup. The men in the parking lot existed somewhere in between these worlds. Cooper makes one ask are there only two gender worlds? What world do homosexuals, transvestites, and people who were born both male and female live in? Should we even have gender lines? Cooper allows the reader to ask themselves these questions, though there are no easy answers.
During the same period in the author’s life, he was forced into taking a class at a local gym as an attempt by his parents to make him less soft. The instructor in the gymnasium, a supposed mentor of masculinity, is “wrinkled and anemic”. Cooper shows, through such examples, gender hides behind a weak façade. The instructor and the man in the locker room are the image of weakness and sickness, one apparently malnourished and aging, the other resembling a fish. These men are hardly the image of manly vigor.
Cooper states that, upon waking in the morning, “I’d blink against the early light and greet each incarnation as a male with mild surprise. Cooper thought “My sex, in other words, didn’t seem to be an absolute fact so much as a pleasant, recurring accident” (156). Though there may be a level of the natural tendency toward certain behaviors among the sexes, much is based upon the expectations placed on individuals by society, and eventually, by themselves. More ambiguous behavior is stifled by a desire to reach an ideal that ignores the possibility of more options. It is so closely ingrained in our way of life, so constantly praised both overtly and subconsciously, that it seems inescapable. This text will be tied to James Baldwins "The Discovery of What It Means to Be an American."
The selection, "The Discovery of What It Means to Be an American", focuses on Baldwin and his experiences in Paris with fellow expatriates. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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