`` Keep Talking, By Philip Levine And My Last Duchess `` By Robert Browning

`` Keep Talking, By Philip Levine And My Last Duchess `` By Robert Browning

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Often times in feminist research, there has been a major focus on women. This makes sense, being that in most cultures women still don’t hold an equal standing with their male counterparts. Yet in the patriarchal society seen in most western cultures, there are still extreme setbacks for men. Though the patriarchy tends to favor men in many aspects, it holds them back in what is seen as an essential part of being human; expressing emotions. These emotions are bottled up and often turn into rage. When men try and express themselves, they are often ridiculed or harassed until they go back to bottling their emotions. This toxic masculinity can lead to violent outbursts, either to those around them or to themselves. I will be exploring the expression of toxic masculinity in “Keep Talking,” by Philip Levine and “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning and comparing how this toxicity is shown in the two poems.
In their journal article, Lesley Francis addresses masculinity and its toxic effects on men. Though there are biological factors that make men different from women, the author sees masculinity as a “cultural and historical” manifestation, not something with which we are born (Francis). Masculinity is a perceived role of what men are supposed to be. In western culture, this is strong and calculating. Men are supposed to be a pillar of support for their female counterpart and not show weakness. This is an unrealistic ideal. This psychological repression is dangerous and can lead to violent outbursts towards themselves and others. This negative outcome of forced gender roles is toxic masculinity. For centuries men have been pushed into this role and, subsequently, set up to fail. The idea that there is an opposite sex restricts...


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...history of western culture, the evolution of rules gives a new structure of how men can express their anger. The nameless narrator internalizes his anger and restricts himself from expressing himself to those around him. The Duke shows the opposite. He lets his anger out in the poisoning of his wife and then explains his feelings and actions to any person passing by, as he describes in the poem.
With centuries of toxic masculinity showing through poetry, the evolution of toxic masculinity can be seen in poetry. Throughout the poems, this distortion of what men are supposed to be doesn’t only affect men internally, but every person around them. According to Lesley Francis, as a society we are “unable to think in non-gendered roles.” With this current mind set, there is no way to get past the deadly damage we put on men while expecting them to restrict their emotions.

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