Presentations of masculinity in a selection of male-authored post-apartheid novels

Crous, Matthys Lourens (2005-12)

Thesis (MA (English Literature))--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.


In this thesis I examine the presentations of masculinity in several novels published in the post-apartheid period in South Africa, that is, the period after 1994. The novels under discussion are all male-authored texts and include novels by J M Coetzee (1999), André Brink (2000), Phaswane Mpe (2001), K Sello Duiker (2001), Zakes Mda (2002) and Damon Galgut (2003). In the introduction theoretical issues regarding masculinity are discussed on the basis of Morrell (2001) and a broad framework for the thesis is outlined. Subsequently the presentation of masculinity is analysed in each of the respective novels under discussion. Issues such as a definition of masculinity (or rather, masculinities), the interaction between men as friends, as colleagues; as well as issues such as heterosexuality and homosexuality are discussed. What perspectives does the author provide on masculinity? How do the male characters experience the new South Africa? What is the nature of their interaction with the female characters in the novels? Another aspect dealt with is the repression of homosexual desire for another man and the way in which it is suppressed beneath a macho façade. In the conclusion the different perspectives are compared and similarities and differences are briefly pointed out. In the end, an important question that comes to mind is: Do these men present a different type of masculinity emerging in the period after liberation, or do they merely (as depicted by their authors) perpetuate the patriarchal masculinities associated with the period before 1994?

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