Female Authors : The Eyes Of A Man And A Woman On A Roof

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One of the most fascinating elements that female authors bring to light is their use of perspective—something that’s most commonly illustrated through the eyes of a man, a male author, or, more often than not, both. Women writers offer a different voice than their male counterparts, even if it’s simply by the subtle inclusion of their own experiences within the narrative of the central character. With that in mind, the question must be asked—how do these female authors present their male characters? It’s common for male authors to stick to stereotypes and caricatures of the women they include in their works; but do female authors choose to follow this style as well? How do they represent the “modern man” within their texts? Through Woolf’s To The Lighthouse, Cather’s My Ántonia, and Lessing’s A Woman on a Roof, the core traits of a modern man in female literature are desire for ultimate control, entitlement, and femininity. The concept itself seems odd, when looked at first: how is “desire for ultimate control” a trait, and even then, how can it be considered a core trait for the modern man within female literature? To begin with, it must be stated that what’s meant by “ultimate control” within this essay is another way of saying “control over identity”. Control is ultimately part of the male physiology in society’s eyes—having that control over identity is something personal, something that impacts those beneath its direct scrutiny. An example of this desire to control identity is one of the themes within Willa Cather’s My Antonia, which involves the narrating character, Jim Burden, wishing on multiple occasions that Antonia would be less masculine, for it makes her less attractive. He even tells her this to her face at the end o... ... middle of paper ... ...ust about them. The childishness of this behavior isn’t something typically associated with the masculine figure, and is perceived as a feminine trait as such. So what’s to be done with all of this information? Can it be believed that women writers portray more honest presentations of men within their male characters? Or are they falling into stereotypes the same way as their male counterparts are? It can likely be argued for both—while there is the element of stereotyping that comes with the controlling element of their male characters, the truthful portrayal with femininity and entitlement seem to offer a differing idea. Woolf, Cather, and Lessing all provide invaluable examples of male characters that differentiate themselves from the standards of their time and show the unhindered perspective of men through the eyes of the successful women working in their field.

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