• RE-ESTABLISHING MASCULINITIES IN EARLY TO MID-20TH CENTURY AMERICAN FICTION

      Orvell, Miles; Lee, Sue-Im; Henry, Katherine, 1956- (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      How has the concept of masculinity been revised and adapted by different writers over the course of the early to mid-20th century? How and why did the authors respond to the question of masculinity differently? To answer these questions, this dissertation navigates the contested nature of masculinity in works spanning the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries. I juxtapose two to three writers and their selected works in each chapter divided by the authors’ race and ethnicity: William Dean Howells’ The Rise of Silas Lapham and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby; Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Richard Wright by focusing on Up from Slavery, The Souls of Black Folk, and Native Son respectively; Mike Gold’s Jews without Money and Nathanael West’s A Cool Million: The Dismantling of Lemuel; Younghill Kang’s East Goes West: and Carlos Bulosan’s America is in the Heart. The writers I examine present masculinities that deviate from hegemonic masculinity, challenge and/or reinforce the definition and parameters of hegemonic masculinity, and develop models of masculinity that meet the needs of their specific historical moments. I argue that juxtaposing different modalities of masculinity construction and exploring the multifaceted treatment of American masculinity afford a more comprehensive perspective about the avenues through which masculinity is made manifest. My examination of multiple masculinities reveals the processes of establishing, maintaining, and contesting hegemonic masculinity. Moreover, tracking historical changes in masculinities uncovers how a set of essentialized traits, though changing, have transformed into and manifested as a privileged form of masculinity.