Constructions Of Working School Masculinity English Books Essay

"Lately sociologists have been shocked to learn that blue-collar men actually spend a lot more time using their children that their professional contemporaries, and feel much less threatened by the gains of feminism. (This is probably because, as DH Lawrence described a long time ago, the working classes are surer of themselves sexually). Working-class men make natural fathers in a way that other men, enthusiastic about status and a better job, just do not. In Beckham's relentless beauty, never more compete than when looking at his boy, we seem to be to see all of that men could be- that toughness and that tenderness merged without conflict or cruelty- only if they stopped hoping to control everything much, if they ceased worrying for 5 minutes about looking delicate" (Julie Birchill on David Beckham in The Guardian).

Masculinity is often determined by a man's appearance and exactly how courageous they are really; physical power and implementing a heroic characteristics is thus necessary to operate for oneself and protect ones family. Many of the men in working category literature perform manual labour, such as mining or working in a factory, in order to provide a life for his or her family. In contrast, although it become more frequent for women to work during and after the Second World War, men didn't stick to this role reversal, and supporting out domestically was not something they carried out. Richard Hoggart shows that many women wouldn't normally want their husbands to donate to the domestic tasks, despite their own heavy workload, "for fear he's thought womanish" (35). Additionally, Hoggart asserts that working-class children soon find the sense that "it's different for men" and therefore they contribute less to household maintenance than their sisters (36). And though a cause for matter, these "rough guys are often admired; the head-shaking over them is really as pleased as it is rueful--'[h]e's a genuine lad' people say". Therefore, although men must be wedded in order to fully achieve their masculinity, they must also continually stress their heterosexuality, making certain to always react the right way for their gender.

Alan Sillitoe's 'Saturday Night and Sunday Morning hours' conveys masculinity chiefly through Arthur Seaton's assertion of his heterosexuality seen through his treatment of women and heavy drinking alcohol, yet also through his ambivalent prospect on marriage. Arthur Seaton appears to despise the idea of marriage, getting in touch with it 'the dizzy and undesired brink of hell' (156), yet he adores hanging out with Brenda and engaging her children, and by the end of the book, with Doreen, 'they spoke of getting married in 90 days. ' (217) Arthur, however, is incredibly judgemental towards other men, 'Arthur categorised husbands into two main categories: the ones that taken care of their wives, and those that were slow. ' (?) He says this as if to justify his affair with Brenda; Jack must be sluggish and thus not deserving to be Brenda's man. Arthur thinks the 'gradual' husbands to be less masculine; they are simply incapable of pleasing their wives, which is why their wives are eventually disloyal, 'There was something without them, nothing like a man with one leg that could in no way be placed right, but something that they, the sluggish husbands, could easily rectify if they became less selfish, brightened up their ideas, and taken care of their wives a bit better' (41?). Ironically it would appear that the less masculine husband is less attentive to his wife's mental needs.

A further irony is obvious when Arthur suggests that despite his using Brenda and doing wrong, 'If I ever before get married, he thought, and also have a better half that keeps on like Brenda and Winnie carry on, I'll give her the largest pasting any female ever had. I'd destroy her. My wife'll have to look after any kids I fill her with, keep carefully the house spotless. In case she's proficient at that I would let her go directly to the pictures now and again and take her out for a glass or two on Sunday. ' (145) This world plainly depicts Arthur as the alpha-male. He wishes to take control, so when he has a wife, he is certain she will do as she is told. Moreover, he is narcissistic and callous, especially when he says, 'Brenda wasn't worth the trouble he'd experienced to keep her' (145), despite the fact it was his mistake she got pregnant, and his decision to transport on the affair whilst knowing she was wedded, which conveys Arthur's irresponsible and cruel characteristics. Arthur constantly operates how he would like; always aiming to become a 'man', when really, he's portrayed as obnoxious and crude.

We are unveiled to Arthur's stereotypical manly physique early into the novel where he is depicted as a 'extra tall, iron-faced, crop-haired young ones' (34?). The use of the term 'iron' makes him sound difficult, almost unbreakable, which becomes noticeable in the book through his hard taking in and the battles he gets into. Arthur's masculinity is asserted from the starting of the book, through his explanation of 'crafty hands around girl waists', conveying his fascination with women right away of the novel. His manliness is conveyed through his drinking habits also, and the alliteration used on the phrases 'best and bingiest' and 'piled-up passions' (9) emphasises Arthur's thrills that it is the weekend and they can drink more than typical, whilst adding a colloquial firmness. The colloquialism also creates a welcoming tone to the beginning of the book, which stimulates us to in the beginning warm to Arthur as a identity. The enjoyment in this beginning chapter is starkly contrasted to the monotony of Arthur's work place, 'a week's monotonous graft in the factory was swilled out of one's body in a burst of goodwill'. The juxtaposition through this sentence evidently shows Arthur's understanding of his weekends and the sibilance in the latter half of the word conveys a build of contentment and rest since this is his time and energy to rest. Furthermore, the 'slow-turning Big Wheel of the 12 months' features the sense of monotony and it mirrors the cyclical structure of working school life.

The beginning to the book also introduces Arthur participating in a drinking competition with a sailor. It is both the ability to drink and the component of competition that are pressured in this specific episode, 'It appeared an even contest for a long time, as if they would stay there swilling it back again for ever, until Loudmouth all of the sudden went green halfway through the tenth pint' (11). Arthur's successful achievement in both can be read as an affirmation of hegemonic masculinity.

In compare to Arthur's taking in being associated with masculinity, in Walter Greenwood's novel, 'Love on the Dole', drinking appears incidentally alternatively than prominently. The book condemns Ned Narkey for his drunkenness and leads us to dislike his character. For instance, when Ned confronts Sally about why she will not marry him, he declares, 'ah'll mek sure that that yellow-bellied rat up avenue don't either. . . not if Ah have t' swing for him', referring to Larry Meath. His drunken point out presents him as unstable, and we do not want him to be with any girl. (145). Furthermore, when he considers Sam Grundy talking to Sally after he has already established a few beverages, his violent aspect is conveyed and we see the negative impact which drinking is wearing him, 'Blind hate and envy dominated him; his impulse was to snatch at Grundy's neck, fling him to the floor and kick his brains out. ' (188). This perception of masculinity is criticised and his intense words is not applauded, contrasting to the light-heartedness of Arthur's drinking alcohol competition in 'Saturday Night and Weekend Morning'. Additionally, in 'Love on the Dole', Mr. Hardcastle's level of resistance to 'the enticement to look drown stress and misery in drink' (94) is praised, which shows that the more manly choice in this case is not heading down to the pub to get drunk; Mr. Hardcastle comprehends this will make no difference to his situation. Thus, to become manly is to support ones family, which cannot be achieved through heavy taking in.

Similar to Greenwood, George Orwell does not commend drinking through his novel, 'The Road to Wigan Pier', and decides never to include it whatsoever. B. Clarke observes that Orwell, "Does not reproduce images of drunkenness and assault" which come in Sillitoe's, 'Saturday Night and Weekend Morning'. This elevates the miners' status and conveys their masculinity in an alternative light. They are still actually powerful, yet Orwell presents them as not being the need to assert their manliness through hard drinking alcohol, purposefully supplying the miners, who are representing the working category, a "stable identity".

A further building of masculinity in 'Saturday Night and Weekend Morning' is the chivalrous character of Sam; he's masculine in different ways to the other working course men in the book since he will not use hostility or vulgar terms. His appearance is referred to as 'a stocky negro with a quiet, intelligent face' (191) which juxtaposes the prior explanation of Arthur as having a face as hard as flat iron. Furthermore, he is 'outfitted in a well-pressed khaki' (192) demonstrating how he will take delight in his appearance. Sam also contrasts Arthur in his method of difficult situations, for example, whenever a fight is about to begin when they go to the pub for a drink, Arthur accidently spills a little amount of beer on a woman when he's passing the beverages over, so when her partner intervenes, 'Arthur clenched his fists, prepared to smash him'. (194) Therefore, he perceives violence as the solution, whereas Sam calmly states, 'what's the problem?' (194) conveying how he is polite and well-spoken; unlike Arthur, Sam uses eloquence over violence.

Labour is made up of either physical work in the manufacturing plant or office work; the previous bears organizations with the working class whilst the last mentioned with the middle class. For instance, the working class physique of Harry Hardcastle in Walter Greenwood's 'Love on the Dole' despises his are a clerk at the pawn shop chiefly because he views being 'a mere pusher of pens' (21) as having feminine connotations. Thus, middle class work was considered as effeminate, signifying working course men who performed in offices weren't regarded as masculine as those who proved helpful in manual, physical labour. This is contrasted to Harry's imagine working at Marlowe's, which he identifies as 'majestic, impressive. . . enormous engineering place. . . with men, employed in men's work' (19). Greenwood's huge selection of adjectives used to describe Marlowe's are what Harry aspires to be, and he associates these information with being a real man.

Similarly, George Orwell, through his novel, 'The Road to Wigan Pier' makes the physical work of the miners seem very manly, and since B. Clarke observes, Orwell, "insists that miners are destined together partly by their adherence to a normal form of masculinity founded on manual labour, physical courage, and strength". Orwell thus praises these men's masculine qualities, such as their physical courage, strength and solidarity. He shows up very interested in the work they actually, portraying them as heroic, saying that mining is a 'Superhuman job' (19). Lots of the men died whilst doing their job, and Orwell presents the hazards of mining through his narrative; thus emphasising the problem about the exploitation of the working classes.

In comparison to the fantastic respect we form for the miners in 'The Road to Wigan Pier, through 'Sunday Night and Weekend Morning', we develop a lack of value for Arthur's hedonistic frame of mind towards his sociable status 'And so it was possible to your investment factory, whether inside it sweating and straining your muscles with a machine, or whether swilling ale in a pub. . . the manufacturer did not subject. The manufacturer could continue working until it blew itself up from too much speed'. The alliteration on 'sweating/straining/' and muscles/machine' are all words connected with physical work, emphasising Arthur's masculinity. Although his statement about his work-place not mattering seems careless, Arthur's warmer aspect becomes obvious when he juxtaposes this to things which do subject in life, 'But I, he thought. . . will be here after the factory's gone, therefore will Brenda and everything women like her still be here, the sort of women that are well worth their weight in gold'. (45) This description of women is beautiful and the alliteration on the 'w' audio conveys how Arthur is emphasising his point that his does have some respect for ladies, and he's not completely brutal and remorseless; he conveys how masculinity does indeed has a softer, more mental side along using its stereotypical connotations.

Due to the monetary deprivations of the post-war period, Sillitoe deliberately presents his personas as looking to maximise their own pleasure to highlight an escapist tendency behind hedonism; working class men found it hard to face the difficulties of the post-war period. For example, when Arthur is present during Brenda's gin and hot-bath abortion, he is extremely casual about any of it, checking it to 'seeing the telly with no part in what he was seeing. ' (88) Arthur thus conveys no sign of compassion for Brenda's fighting. Moreover, on the same night, he sleeps with Winnie, Brenda's sister, 'he could not remember Brenda, thinking that perhaps he had wished for her sometime, but nothing at all more' (96). That is shocking after he has just watched her abort their baby, and his information of only knowing her through his dreams suggests that perhaps something is wrong with him psychologically; this could, however, you need to be his way of dealing with guilt. If he really feels no guilt, and does not have any conscience, although extreme, Arthur is possibly thought of as a sociopath.

Arthur's defiance of moral ideals and negligent frame of mind is conveyed when Arthur and Fred see a guy throw a pint wine glass at a shop window, and a female witness 'placed the bewildered culprit by his wrist' (108) whilst they wait for the authorities. Arthur's immorality and horrific dynamics is depicted through his sexually derogatory description of this female; he loathes her for not making the unlawful man get away from, 'She's a bitch and a whore. . . a blood-tub, a potato face, a swivel-eyed gett, a Rat-clock. ' (113) This venomous outpouring of misogyny and brutal words portrays Arthur's dominating, intense masculinity, yet Sillitoe is finally showing this form of masculinity in a very negative light.

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