In search of: Representations of Masculinity
As explored in K. Road, Once Were Warriors, The Making of a New Zealander, and Working Up North.
1: How important is masculinity to the society portrayed in each text?
2: How do the main male characters show or express this masculinity or manliness?
3: Is the perception of the classic New Zealand male changing?
Title: ‘K. Road’
Author: Ted Dawe
1: Because this novel was set in the late 1990’s K Road, masculinity is important in showing what most males were like then. Showing toughness, joining gangs, playing rugby and drinking excessive amounts of beer were all attributes that a kiwi bloke must have to help them appear masculine and manly.
2: Characters such as Flash and Rabbit show their masculinity through rugby and surfing and camping on the beach (outdoors). Characters such as Sonny and the Te Pania boys show their masculinity through their muscles, tattoos and gang fights.
3: Because this is set in K Road as opposed to South Island farmland for instance, it shows a slight change in the perception of masculinity or the classic ‘Kiwi Bloke.’ Men no longer are required to play rugby and drink beer to be considered manly.
Title: ‘Once Were Warriors’
Author: Alan Duff
1: Jake Heke, the main character, is easily provoked and extremely aggressive. He also liked to show off his masculinity to his mates. He would often be drunk and abuse his wife physically. This type of thing was extremely common in area similar to were ‘Once Were Warriors’ was set. Jake Heke was used as an example of what life was like for many Maori families in those days. Therefore the masculinity portrayed in the text is very important to the society in the time the novel was based.
2: Jake Heke shows his masculinity by showing his dominance and superiority over his family and wife especially. “Just do what you are told!” He also drinks with his mates almost every night. Another way in which he shows this masculinity is by working for the money to feed his family however during the novel he quits his job and goes on the dole.
3: When “Once were Warriors” was set, there was a definite role for the man of the house. This role didn’t change much throughout areas within New Zealand although in the wealthier, city orientated families the structure was much different. The general perception of masculinity in those days was still the big rugby playing tough guy who put food on the table. This perception was not changing during this time.
Title: “The Making of a New Zealander”
Author: Frank Sargeson
1: Frank Sargeson uses the simplicity and the rhythms of ordinary New Zealand speech and also the compassion...