Masculinity And Femininity By James Joyce Essay

Masculinity And Femininity By James Joyce Essay

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Masculinity and femininity are important topics of today; however, they were also important topics in the 20th century as well. Authors such as James Joyce who wrote The Dead were battling this forefront topic in 1914. Masculinity is the characterization of male qualities that are associated with men, such as aggressiveness and emotion-less attributes (Farlex). Femininity is described as the characterization of female qualities associated with females, it is essentially the nature of the female sex (Merriam-Webster). Joyce wrote in favor of masculinity that is to say at least in The Dead he did. In The Dead, Joyce provides perfect examples of this battle between masculinity and femininity—and the lack thereof of the latter.
The main character Gabriel Conroy seems to approve of female characters only as if they are background noise and only there to feed his ego—or push him further in the social/cultural world. These female characters lack the voice they need to become a realistic/in-depth character, based on that aspect. Throughout the story, males get explicit speaking voices versus females who do not. One of them goes by the name of Freddy Malins¬ and he gets that explicit description and favorable speaking role(s). Freddy is described with descriptive wording such as, “A young man about forty, was of Gabriel’s size and build, with very round shoulders. His face was fleshy and pallid, touched with colour only at the thick hanging lobes of his ears and at the wide wings of his nose” (Joyce, 28).
When Aunt Julia and Kate first enter they are described by Joyce as, “Miss Kate and Miss Julia were there, gossiping and laughing and fussing, walking after each other to the head of the stairs, peering down over the banisters” (Joyce, ...


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... and oppression by gaps and contradictions in the narration—but, by what is not said in the narration. The text can be read as Norris describes, as a way of a strong male narrator that is tested and distorted by the silent or dismissed female counterparts, who, in the end, don’t succeed in making themselves unsilenced (Norris, 192). That concludes that Joyce’s past made an impact into his writing, “In the 20th century women were in an age where they were silenced, self-sacrificing, pious and nurturing. Some, if not most, of the women even suffered horribly from abuse like Joyce’s mother did” (Badcock, 38). An argument can be made that perchance Joyce was venturing out to show how the 20th century was and how the 20th century handled things as far as the treatment of women. Perhaps, the angle he was attempting to take did not prove that aspect he was trying to convey.

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