Examining Gender Roles in Man and Superman Essay example

Examining Gender Roles in Man and Superman Essay example

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Through a character analysis of Jack Tanner and Ann Whitefield, Carpenter examines the sexual purification displayed in Shaw’s play; “The mainspring of the plot is clearly Ann Whitefield's relentless desire to bear Jack Tanner's children. […] Ann's climactic seduction of Jack and her resultant climax are set squarely before the footlights, […] depicted in a shrewdly inoffensive manner, however: one implied by Shaw's description of the play as a dramatic "distillation" of sexual attraction” (Carpenter 71). Through symbolic allusion, Shaw is able to hint at sexual gratification between his characters without upsetting the general Puritan public. Shaw uses sexual puns throughout his comedy to conscientiously examine the sexual desires of his characters. With the prudish Puritan ideals of Shaw’s society controlling the degree of sexuality that could be depicted in Man and Superman without being condemned to a life without production, Shaw had to carefully select how and when he would have his characters demonstrate their sexuality. The climax scene of Act IV is the culmination of Ann Whitefield’s manipulation of Jack Tanner’s intellect and emotions as well as her seduction of his sexuality:
TANNER. [seizing her in his arms] It is false: I love you. The Life Force enchants
me: I have the whole world in my arms when I clasp you. But I am fighting for
my freedom, for my honor, for myself, one and indivisible.
[…]
TANNER. [groaning] Oh, that clutch holds and hurts. What have you grasped in
me? Is there a father’s heart as well as a mother’s?
ANN. Take care, Jack: if anyone comes while we are like this, you will have to
marry me.
TANNER. If we two stood now on the edge of a precipice, I would hold yo...


... middle of paper ...


...Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Morgan, Margery M. “Shaw and the Sex Reformers.” Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw
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Shaw, Bernard. Man and Superman: A Comedy and a Philosophy. Ed. Dan H. Laurence.
Introduction by Stanley Weintraub. London, England: Penguin Books, 2000. 41-209. Print
Sterner, Mark H. "Shaw's Superwoman and the Borders of Feminism: One Step Over the
Line?" Shaw 18, Penn State UP (1998): 147-60. JSTOR. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.
Waltonen, Karma. “Saint Joan: From Renaissance Witch to New Woman.” Shaw: The Annual of
Bernard Shaw Studies 24 (2004): 186-203. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Feb.
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Zabrouski, Monica A., and Robert P. Kirchmann. “The Ungendered Will and the Shavian
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Examining Gender Roles in Man and Superman Essay example

- Through a character analysis of Jack Tanner and Ann Whitefield, Carpenter examines the sexual purification displayed in Shaw’s play; “The mainspring of the plot is clearly Ann Whitefield's relentless desire to bear Jack Tanner's children. […] Ann's climactic seduction of Jack and her resultant climax are set squarely before the footlights, […] depicted in a shrewdly inoffensive manner, however: one implied by Shaw's description of the play as a dramatic "distillation" of sexual attraction” (Carpenter 71)....   [tags: Characters, Film Analysis, Gender Roles]

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