Saikiran D


Instructor: Professor Sindhu Menon

Course : HE707

3 November 2014

Assignment : Postapocalyptic crisis and Reconfiguration of Masculinities in The Road and I Am


In this essay, I intend to trace masculinities of the protagonists of the postapocalyptic novels The

Road by Cormac McCarthy and I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. My aim is to show that the

masculinity of these characters showcases a internal crisis due to the external postapocalyptic

setting and also points towards need for a reconfiguration of masculinity to fit the new


A brief look into the definition of concepts like masculinities and postapocalyptic would be

necessary to illuminate the subject. Masculinities as defined by R.W. Connell in her works is

plural and not singular and is about the perceived notions and patterns of behavior associated

with men and they must act in particular situations. She explains it as a relational concept which

is in contrast with and opposed to femininity.

The terms ' masculine' and ' feminine ' point beyond

categorical sex difference to the ways men differ among

Etymologically the word means a revelation. and women differ among themselves. Practice that relates to this structure. It is a process which is formed by history and also influences and makes history. There is a component of revelation or a revealing of something important in apocalyptic literature. David Buchbinder in his book Studying Men and Masculinity used James Berger's definitions of the apocalypse and postapocalypse. unveiling and uncovering which means that it has an interpretive and explanatory . Actions are configured in larger units. Postapocalyptic could be understood as the material and social reality after an apocalypse. does not consist of isolated acts. not in a static sense but as a process. It might usually involve the end of civilization as we know it or the end of a way of life or thinking. Connell pg 72 Connell describes masculinity as configuration or process of configuring practice. in matters of gender. Apocalypse is defined as the end of the world scenario which could be caused by any number of reasons. The practice of gender in not limited to isolated actions but to branched arrays referred to by Connell as collections of gender practices. These practices relate to the processes of reproduction and human bodily structures. (Connell pg 69) The general idea of masculinity as an essential quality of men is rejected here in favor of a view that sees masculinity as a category of gender structure and gender as organization of a set of social practices. and when we speak of masculinity and femininity we are naming configurations of gender practice. generated as people and groups grapple with their historical situations.themselves.

An apocalyptic event in its destructive moment must clarify and illuminate the true nature of what has been brought to an end.function. .