An Analysis of the Male-Female Relationship in Winesburg,Ohio with Williams’ Dynamic Culture Model毕业论文
1. Introduction 1
2. Demonstration 3
2.1 Traditional Male-Female Relationship 3
2.1.1 Puritanical Definition of Masculinity and Femininity 3
2.1.2 Unproductive Male-Female Relationships in Anderson’s Works 5
2.2 Anti-conventional Male- Female Relationship 7
2.2.1 Transitional Period: Crisis of Masculinity and Rise of Femininity 8
2.2 .2 Reciprocal Male-Female Relationships in Anderson’s Works 11
3. Conclusion 14
An Analysis of the Transition of the Male-Female relationship in Anderson’s Fictions From the Perspective of Culture Materialism
Sherwood Anderson(1876-1941),born in a small town named Camden in mid-western America, is regarded as a pioneering figure who exerts great influence on American literature and the upcoming American writers including Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Thomas Wolfe , and thus is remarked by William Faulkner as “the father of my generation of American writers” and by Malcolm Crowley as “a writer’s writer” (Wang 240). His Winesburg, Ohio is a peculiar work with 24 interconnected stories focusing on inhabitants of a small mid-western town at the turn of the century.wins him an international reputation.
Though too often being neglected and underestimated by critics, Anderson has his literary contribution reaffirmed by several essays which bespeak his creative genius and thus do the writer a justice. Among these critical essays are several on topics such as womanhood, mid-western country settings, Anderson’s insights into grotesques, and American dream. The most inclusive essay is “The Performance of Sherwood Anderson” by the 20th century literary observer John T.Flanagan. Calling the writer a moralist and comparing him to another distinguished writer Nathaniel Hawthorne, Flanagan perceptively demonstrates that Anderson was undisciplined in both his life and his writings. Setting foot in various aspects, the criticism also covers the study of structure and techniques. Some critics even find Anderson’s meticulous depiction of human psychology bear certain connection to the Freudian theory as reflected in the relationship of George Willard and his mother. Chris Browning studies the fiction in this peculiar way and determines that Kate Swift is a creative Eros in Anderson’s writing. The sex theme is what draws most critics’ attention and is often discussed about the short story collection. Charles I. Glicksberg states in his book The sexual Revolution in Modern American Literature that Anderson’s personal experience and the naturalism idea which was popular at that time have exerted a great influence on his fictions and gives an analysis on the sexual morality reflected in Winesburg, Ohio. Pu Lixin probes into the masculinity crisis in Winesburg, Ohio in his Identity Construction and Masculinity: A study o f Sherwood Anderson’ s Fiction and explores the importance of masculinity in social development. Womanhood vision and female perspective are also what have been thoroughly illustrated in some critical essays. Some people make efforts to study Anderson in the perspective of cultural development. After reading The Man Who Became a Woman, Lonna M.Malmsheimer points out that what Anderson focuses is individual issues in a historically recognizable setting.
These researches offer a much broader perspective towards Anderson’s fictions and shed a light on later studies. Nonetheless, there are still many fields that worth digging further. For instance, how did the transformation of social structures affect the definition of masculinity and femininity, and thus exert its impact on the male-female relationship. That happens to be the topic this essay focused on. As Anderson’s depiction of male-female relationship is laid out in a peculiar social background, it bears certain necessity to attach importance to understand the challenges from the past, the present and the future of men and women in Winesburg, Ohio in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the male-female relationship in the book. This essay adopts Raymond Williams ’s cultural model to the analysis of male-female relationship. In his Marxism and Culture, Williams proposed a dynamic interrelations among three different forms of culture: the dominant,the residual and the emergent. This culture model pre-supposes that what culture is about is about change. The peculiar era of American industrialization reveals an obvious cultural pattern in this book so it is fairly appropriate to analyze it from the perspective of cultural materialism. It is part of what this thesis is up to. It tries to make clear how male-female relationship in Winesburg, Ohio which would be virtually incomprehensible when it is removed from its immediate surroundings was depicted and how it transformed through the interplay of the three culture forms. It also at the same time tries to ponder on what the limitations of this masterpiece-making process are, and if Anderson himself was somehow influenced by residual patriarchy. What’s more, the thesis makes an effort in testing if the literary and culture history of the united states in the period we are looking at seem to bear out this model of culture. Through close reading, this essay thoroughly explores puritanical definition of masculinity and femininity demonstrated in Anderson’s writing, and its residual influence on male-female relationships depicted in the book. An analysis of the crisis of masculinity and rise of femininity brought about by emergent industrial culture is then given in the essay, as well as the modern reciprocal male-female relationship formed through the interplay of different cultural forms in Winesburg, Ohio.
2.1 Traditional Male-Female Relationship