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War trauma and masculinity - Essay Example

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War is an important issue in terms of literature since many writers, having undergone armored conflicts create their literary reflection by interweaving their own experiences with their ingenious imagination. Literature knows a number of different war stories, which highlight a number of post-war problems - either personal or social…
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War trauma and masculinity
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Download file to see previous pages These two changes are extremely ambivalent and are determined by the personal qualities and conditions the person faces.
First of all, in order to understand masculinity as a phenomenon, it is important to study its definition. Maculinity is a specific gender identification, related to stress, independence and self-management. "Like femininity, masculinity operates politically at different levels. At one level, it is a form of identity, a means of self-understanding that structures personal attitudes and behaviours" (Leach, 1994,p.36). Another level is associated with seeing masculinity as a form of ideology, in which "it presents a set of cultural ideals that define appropriate roles, values and expectations for and of men" (ibid, p.36). It is important to note that masculinity is not 'natural', as it can be developed (or, conversely, destroyed) throughout the life course as a response to certain social expectations. It can be viewed as cultural interpretation of maleness, developed and maintained by participating social relationships. The sociocultural nature of masculinity is shaped by values, believes, and, naturally, requirements, dictated by the epoch. For instance, Spiegelman and Hemingway's time is characterized by the belief that man is a breadwinner, problem-solver, or more specifically, autonomous, strong and independent person, who is capable of defending his motherland from invaders. Furthermore, this definition of masculinity is basic for the present paper, as it is the starting point of the whole analysis.
In 'Soldier's home' Hemingway depicts a personality, torn in two by controversial attitudes towards his home, where he's just returned. In spite of Harold Krebs's parents comfortable middle-class life, he experiences a sense of homelessness, of quilt and despair, because of having experienced his close friends' death' and all the problems related to war. First of all, it is important to note that Hemingway doesn't reveal why Harold has been wandering for many years before he comes back (about ten years, in fact), so this time probably has been devoted to searching for a new home and re-thinking his own life. By that time "all the other former soldiers have found a niche for themselves in the community" (Imamura, 1996, p.102), but Krebs needs some more time to get accustomed to new conditions; he plays pool, "practiced on his clarinet, strolled down town, read, and went to bed" (Hemingway, 1995, p.146). "What he is doing, of course, is killing time" (Imamura, 1996, p.103).
The problem is associated with Harold's understanding of who has become. He realizes he has been altered by the circumstances, and this alteration becomes much more dramatic, once he sees that his town has remained almost the same comparing to the period when he graduated from higher school: the same streets and the same girls walking down the streets, the same parking place for his father's car (Hemingway, 1995). In fact, these changes in his own outlook can be explained by his pre-war and war experiences.
Before the World War I, as Hemingway narrates us, Harold studied at a Methodist school, an educational ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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