By Robert Vorlicky

ISBN-10: 0472095722

ISBN-13: 9780472095728

How males converse with one another on level while no ladies are present--and what it tells us approximately strength and gender

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Extra resources for Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama

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Although men are "all different" from one another, according to Roma (50), each, as a man, has access to the power to define. Man, not God, has the power in Mamet's world to name things, to give definition. He indeed has free choice. Yet free choice is an illusion for many Mamet characters based on a certain notion of identity quite specific to American patriarchy. What passes as free choice is ideo- logically shaped. The dictates of the impersonal masculine ethos and its social conventions are repeatedly embraced by Mamet's men.

Moss: Not actually, no. ] Aaronow: You didn't? Moss: No. Not actually. Aaronow: Did you? Moss: What did I say? Aaronow: What did you say? Moss: Yes. " The fuck you care, George? We're just talking... (39-40) 36 AMERICAN MASCULINE ETHOS, MALE MYTHOLOGIES, AND ABSENT WOMEN The talk between Moss and Aaronow is dotted throughout with these metalinguistic interactions. In the previous exchange, the men are unable (or unwilling) to use language to convey specific meanings. They choose to maintain a social dialogue that is vague and ambiguous, or as Moss might estimate, a language that is pleas- ingly "simple" (35).

No one is ever certain that "what [he's] saying" is being heard or understood in the way in which he intends it. This talk about talk-and its concomitant rela- tionship to the process of receiving and comprehending informa- tion-does not, however, diffuse the power of codes in the men's dialogue. In fact, the linguistic-cultural codes in the men's social dialogue, those that are informed by the masculine ethos, provide the only irrefutable foundation for communication between the men. The codes essentially ground the men in their interaction with one another.

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Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama by Robert Vorlicky

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