Masculinity In The Wasp Factory Essay

1007 Words 4 Pages
Similarly, The Wasp Factory also uses masculinity to explore gender constructions, although arguably more subversively than Beloved. This is firstly due to it being written after the 1970s feminist literary criticism movement, which means Banks ' remote setting which he 'envisaged as a planet ' allows him to transgress these constructions using grim satire. This is evident in Frank 's inability to satisfy his sexual desires due to his lack of male genitalia, which means also that he does not consider himself a 'full man ' . The modifier 'full ' is significant here as it implies reproduction is essential for masculinity, however it is also ironic as the reader later finds out that Frank is still 'capable of intercourse ' , but as a female. …show more content…
This is evident when Paul D describes Beloved as 'shining ' which shows he 's lusting over her sexual purity. In addition, he also compares women 's sexuality to strawberry plants using the metaphor 'Women did what strawberry plants did [by the time] the mint-colored berry poked out, the leaf shine was gilded tight and waxy ' . This conforms to patriarchal gender constructions as once again, Paul D is presenting his masculinity through his sexual desires, and Beloved (and the female gender) is just viewed as an object of sexual gratification, without any voice of her own. In addition, the euphemistic comparison between a woman 's sexuality and a strawberry plant degrades women, as it means Paul D is objectifying Beloved, an action typical of a masculine gender construction. Alternatively it could be read that Beloved is using her sexuality to her advantage, such as when 'she moved him ' ; the dynamic verb 'moved ' suggesting here that Beloved is in full control of her actions and is using them to manipulate Paul D, which subverts patriarchal gender constructions as she is in control- not him. This is significant as it Beloved was also written in a post-feminist culture, so therefore Morrison is trying to give voice to both an oppressed race, and an oppressed …show more content…
This is in complete contrast to Paul D 's attitude, as although Frank feels emasculated by his lack of genitalia; he doesn 't feel it necessary to assert his dominance over women. This may be because firstly, he uses weapons such as 'bombs ' and his 'Black Destroyer ' catapult as some sort of penis substitution, as these phallic symbols allow him to feel masculine because they reinforce the stereotype that 'men can kill '. In addition, the fact he declares that his 'greatest enemies are Women and the Sea ' , suggests that he doesn 't need to domineer over them because he considers them insensate, like the sea. However, it could also be argued that Frank 's view of women is somewhat similar to the views presented in Beloved as he is still (in some ways) objectifying women by downgrading their status from beings with a conscious thought process to a large body of water, just like Paul D compares women 's sexuality to plants. However, the fact that Banks has chosen to capitalise 'Women and the Sea ' shows that perhaps he does respect women, as the use of the proper noun presents women as a formidable adversary, as they are seen as one entity. Alternatively, it could suggest that Frank feels threatened by women as the capitalisation shows that he views both women and the sea as almost omnipotent, God-like forces,

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