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The Mobility of Male Characters in Modern American Drama

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2021, 34(3), pp.87-116
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : November 10, 2021
  • Accepted : December 14, 2021
  • Published : December 31, 2021

Hyung Shik Lee 1

1건국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to explore the dialectic pattern of moving and staying in the male characters’ lives in modern American drama, applying the methodology of recent development of mobility studies in the U.S. and Europe. The leading scholars of mobility studies focus on the mobility of not only people but merchandise, technology, and communication network which influence how people connect and disconnect with one another. The life style of the so-called sendentarism and nomadism can be detected in many male characters in the canonical plays of American playwrights, such as Eugene O’Neill and Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and Sam Shepard. Drawing on their own experience, the playwrights create male characters who escape from the humdrum mundane daily lives and seek adventure and answers to their existential questions. On the other extreme stand male characters who manage to salvage the broken debris of their fathers’ wreckage. The investigation into the dialectic opposition of sedentarism and nomadism leads us to the question of what it means to be a man in the American society. The traditional concept of masculinity is constantly challenged especially in the plays of Shepard when the old man turns out to be a loser who went to the desert because he could not survive in the city, not because he was tough and adventurous and was seeking a philosophical answer. These problematic fathers leave long-lasting scar on the psyche of their sons and wives.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.