Masculinity In James Joyce's The Dead

1160 Words5 Pages
Masculinity and femininity are vastly important topics of this day and age, but they were also important topics in the 20th century as well. Authors like James Joyce who wrote The Dead were battling this forefront topic in 1914. Masculinity is the characterization of male qualities that are associated with men, such as aggressiveness and emotion-less attributes (Farlex). Femininity is described as the characterization of female qualities associated with females, it is essentially the nature of the female sex (Merriam-Webster). Joyce wrote in favor of masculinity that is to say at least in The Dead he did. In The Dead, Joyce provides perfect examples of this battle between masculinity and femininity—and the lack thereof of the latter.
The main
…show more content…
She is someone who plays the piano and beautifully at that. She is a strong female-driven character and that is something we do not see from the majority of the female characters in the story. Despite the fact that she is ignored by Gabriel. Despite her being a beautiful and remarkable piano player, she is demeaned by Gabriel. He critiques her internally and discusses how she can’t play certain notes and those notes are unbearable to listen to because they are off key. You get that sense of a battle between Joyce wanting to be feminist and show that femininity; but, it is being overpowered by his masculine culture. So, on one hand you can argue the opposite; however, it does not seem to follow through on Joyce’s end and on that aspect of feminism. You notice the way Joyce seems to continue to demean these female characters, even though they are meant to be a strong female…show more content…
That was normal for women of the time especially Irish women (Badcock, 38). Throughout the story, Joyce does give Aunt Julia and Aunt Kate a voice on a cultural struggle that they are going through. More so Aunt Kate with her struggle with being replaced by a male in the choir. Aunt Kate explains how the pope turned the choir around and women were no longer allowed to be in it, “Women work hard, if not more than males, and they just get rid of them like that” (Joyce, 36). As a reader, you can state that Joyce is showing some compassion by showing the voice, it is not entirely silenced like it was supposed to be at the time. With that, there comes the point of the abrupt silence you see in the following pages with dialogue. He mentions the issue, but never develops it. Joyce never elaborates on that issue any more than a few sentences, which leads back to the silenced characters. What Joyce does is he starts to allow them to have struggles and issues, then takes it back and silences them again. When Norris stated how the female characters don’t succeed in making themselves unsilenced and this is a good example of

More about Masculinity In James Joyce's The Dead

Open Document