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The Masculinity In Fatherless Men Essay

2394 words - 10 pages

It is apparent that society has created a sense of alienation for a generation of men who feel like boys that are lost, and unsure about what it really means to be a man. Most of these men have been lacking a parental father figure in their life. Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club and Pat Barker’s Regeneration provide an analysis of men growing up fatherless and the lifelong effects it has on the male, including the effects of their sense of masculinity. Fight Club and Regeneration are a warning of what happens in a society when there is no father archetype upon men can look up to. In an interview with the author, Palahniuk, stated that he meant the story to be a cautionary tale of what can occur when an entire segment of a culture is disenfranchised. He explains why he was moved to write the book: “I wanted to acknowledge what my friends were complaining about, being failed by their fathers, and document what’s going on in our lives.” (Singleton, 143) Regeneration and Fight Club are both about the men lacking a parental father figure and how it affects their life. From this analysis, it is apparent that these men feel alienated, emasculated, and are looking for guidance by partaking in homosexual or homosocial activity. The men are looked down upon by their society for not sticking to the gender norms that society considers right. The men are not allowed to discuss their feelings or emotions without being classified as weak or feminine. Chuck Palahniuk and Pat Barker try to break the stereotype of men having to be tough and emotionlessness and encourage men to express their feelings and overall what it is like growing up without a father.

The alienation created by growing up fatherless provokes the men in these novels to search for a community to bond with. For the men in Regeneration, they enlist into war for a community and brotherhood to be welcomed into, and in Fight Club, the men try to deal with their insecurities by creating a Fight Club. The club attracts so many men that it becomes a secret society of men who gather to fistfight with one another to gain a sense of manhood and to feel alive, “What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women.” (Palahniuk, 50). The Fight Club takes on a political and social significance (Singleton, 143). By the men associating with other men with similar frustrations, the men of Fight Club discover they have been betrayed on a collective level by the established patriarchy. Tyler Durden encourages the men to realize that along with being disappointed by their own fathers, they have been deceived by the established patriarchal culture that has lied to them about who they are and what they should become. “I asked Tyler what he’d been fighting. Tyler said, his father. Maybe we didn’t need a father to complete ourselves” (Palahniuk, 53). In these novels, the alienation is not limited to biological fathers and mothers. A boss or even God could figuratively fill the parental role. Although, God is...

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