Carla J. Mcdonough's Staging Masculinity And The Family Character Analysis
1201 Words5 Pages
Twentieth century American playwright Sam Shepard attempts to set straight the series of myths and half-truths that burden American families, thus exposing the falseness of such family models, presented by a strongly bonded group managed by a patriarch whose authority was usually absolute with women presented as happy in their role of a full time homemaker, rearing children. Shepard ascertains the primary reasons for the family dysfunction that has slithered into twentieth century American families and more than anything else, for Shepard at least, the family dysfunction is by and large because of the powerlessness of American men to reconcile their ‘perception’ of American identity with the ‘reality’ of life in America. He thus links the issue of identity to the institution of family besides considering capitalism as a cause for the shift in family dynamics. The roots lie in the prevailing ideas of masculinity in the 20th century United States which has been strongly internalized by the American psyche.
According to Carla J. McDonough’s study, Staging Masculinity: Male Identity in Contemporary American Drama (1997), there exist two conflicting ideals of masculinity in American society: “the ideal of masculine success” and the “frontier ideal of masculinity”(47).While the former represents successful business men who hold respectable jobs and remain active participants of public life, the latter