Masculinity In 'What Work Is' By Phillip Levine

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Masculinity is the term used to describe the qualities usually associated with men. Masculinity has been in the past few years has been one of the front runners of the plethora of national debates. More than often today, men are being met with a stigma against the traditional roles of a man and a woman. There are many qualities associated with masculinity but, the most known and referenced are present in the poem. In the poem What Work Is the author, Phillip Levine, presents the theory that men carry the societal burden due to the preconceived notion of masculinity. Firstly, in the terms of a patriarchal society, men are supposed to work any job that enables him to acquire income. In turn, this income will help the man provide for himself…show more content…
“Men work primarily to feed and create an environment of comfort for their wife and family” (Crooks and Lankow). This age-old reasoning came into creation when women were house wives. The women would take care of everything inside the home and men would insure that there was security and indeed a house for the family to live in. “This is the commonly accepted role of the man within the social system and proves a formidable challenge that every man must accept” (Crooks and Lankow). If a man chooses to go against this and take the role of a house husband, he may be met with repugnance by other men in the community Truly, the need to provide is crippling to the progression of society. Strangely enough, Emotion to a man is a test of virility. Virility meaning an man’s strength and manliness. If a man shows emotion, he is deemed less a man. In the poem narrator of the story is talking about his relationship with his brother. “How long has it been…you loved him” The quote “incapable of crying in the presence of another man” (Levine Line 39-40), further explains the stigma by pressing the issue that men are groomed into a way that makes it unacceptable to cry. Tears are signs of weakness to a man and by showing them, you are by comparison
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