The Masculinity in Fatherless Men

1960 Words8 Pages
It is apparent that society has created a sense of alienation for a generation of men who feel like boys that are lost, and unsure about what it really means to be a man. Most of these men have been lacking a parental father figure in their life. Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club and Pat Barker’s Regeneration provide an analysis of men growing up fatherless and the lifelong effects it has on the male, including the effects of their sense of masculinity. Fight Club and Regeneration are a warning of what happens in a society when there is no father archetype upon men can look up to. In an interview with the author, Palahniuk, stated that he meant the story to be a cautionary tale of what can occur when an entire segment of a culture is disenfranchised. He explains why he was moved to write the book: “I wanted to acknowledge what my friends were complaining about, being failed by their fathers, and document what’s going on in our lives.” (Singleton, 143) Regeneration and Fight Club are both about the men lacking a parental father figure and how it affects their life. From this analysis, it is apparent that these men feel alienated, emasculated, and are looking for guidance by partaking in homosexual or homosocial activity. The men are looked down upon by their society for not sticking to the gender norms that society considers right. The men are not allowed to discuss their feelings or emotions without being classified as weak or feminine. Chuck Palahniuk and Pat Barker try to break the stereotype of men having to be tough and emotionlessness and encourage men to express their feelings and overall what it is like growing up without a father. The alienation created by growing up fatherless provokes the men in these novels to search for a... ... middle of paper ... ...s their feelings and emotions, which emasculated the men in their eyes. In example, Willard is the man who cannot walk. He is so embarrassed and feels so emasculated because of his condition that he refuses to believe he has anything other than a physical problem. Rivers assures Willard that “a coward needs his legs.” (Barker, 112). Despite the fact that the patients feel emasculated by the methods of treatments, Rivers achieves positive results, which helps his patients to lead a normal life again. Ultimately, Barker's exploration of emasculation in the novel challenges traditional notions of manliness. Works Cited Barker, Pat. Regeneration. London: Penguin Books, 1991. Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: Norton and Company, 1996. Singleton, William. "Pacifica Graduate Institute." The Father Archetype and the Myth of the Fatherless Son 12 (2007): 135-145.
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