Tag Archives: masculinity

Power, Language, and Identity

There is no question that Their Eyes is spearheaded by dialogue. Hurston takes advantage of the familiar southern dialect and guides the novel accordingly.  Jody’s need for dominance over Janie is apparent through his actions, especially during the mayoral speech.

“The burst of applause was cut short by Joe taking the floor himself.

‘Thank yuh fuh yo’ compliments, but mah wife dont know nothin’ ’bout no speech-makin’. Ah never married her for nothin’ lak dat.  She’s uh woman and her place is in de home'” (43).

The contrasting identities of Janie and Jody regarding independence result in a power conflict observed by the town.

“‘Maybe he make her do it.  Maybe he skeered some de rest of us mens might touch it round dat store.  It sho is uh hidden mystery tuh me.’

‘She sho don’t talk much.  De way he rears and pitches in de store sometimes when she make uh mistake is sort of ungodly, but she don’t seem to mind at all.  Reckon dey understand one ‘nother'” (50).

Hurston, Zora Neale. Their Eyes Were Watching God. 1937. New York: Harper Perennial, 2013.

Masculinity in Hemingway

“He pulled back the blanket from the Indian’s head. His hand came away wet. He mounted on the edge of the lower bunk with the lamp in one hand and looked in. The Indian lay with his face towards the wall. His throat had been cut from ear to ear. The blood had flowed down into a pool where the body sagged the bunk. His head rested on his left arm. The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets” (Hemingway 18).

Hemingway, Ernest. “Indian Camp.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 1925. Print.

This scene portrays the role of masculinity in the novel. The act of suicide by the Indian is a feminine act and that fact that an Indian man did it and a white man, a doctor, found him makes him not as masculine as the white man. Instead of facing his problems, he turned away from them, literally because he was facing the wall, and he killed himself rather than staying through the delivery and raising the child.

A Manly Man’s Son

“But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important” (16).

Hemingway, Ernest. In Our Time. New York: Scribner, 1996.

Nick’s father sees no importance in the screaming, he is a masculine character who does not let pain or feelings distract him from the task at hand. He is able to turn his emotions off and continue working. His son however, seems to be the only one who expresses concern for the woman giving birth and the pain she is going through.

Masculinity and Pride in “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife”

“Dick Boulton looked at the doctor. Dick was a big man. He knew how big a man he was. He liked to get into fights. He was happy. Eddy and Billy Tabeshaw leaned on their cant­hooks and looked at the doctor. The doctor chewed the beard on his lower lip and looked at Dick Boulton. Then he turned away and walked up the hill to the cottage. They could see from his back how angry he was. They all watched him walk up the hill and go inside the cottage” (Kindle edition – no page numbers given).

Throughout “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife” Hemingway places an important role on masculinity and its effect on relationships.  Dick Boulton’s pride causes an altercation between him and the doctor, whereas the doctor’s pride causes an altercation between him and his wife.  This theme seems to be reoccurring throughout the plot and it is clear the the doctor’s son chooses his father’s side by the end of the narrative over his mother’s, demonstrating a continuation of this mindset.


Hemingway, Ernest. “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. Print.

Characterization in “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.”

She [Henry’s wife] was a Christian Scientist.Her Bible, her copy of Science and Health and her Quarterly were on a table beside her bed in the darkened room.
Her husband did not answer. He was sitting on a bed now, cleaning a shotgun. He pushed the magazine full of the heavy yellow shells and pumped them out again. They were scattered on the bed.

Hemingway, Ernest. “The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife.” In Our Time. New York: Scribner Paperback Fiction, 2003. 25-26. Print.

The subtle clash between these two characters highlights Hemingway’s terse writing style: Henry’s wife is a Christian scientist, thus she is against her husband’s medical work. In contrast, we have Henry, a symbol of masculinity characterized by his silence on the subject of Dick’s anger and his wielding of a shotgun.