Hypermasculinity Through Struggle: Sympathy for the Characters of 'Beloved and 'Jazz' College

Hypermasculinity is prevalent in Joe Trace and Paul D. Both of these characters assert unhealthy dominance in their lives, and especially in their relationships with women. They each have past trauma that will lead to their diminished sense of self and hypermasculine tendencies. Both of these characters seek stability in a female role. Furthermore, they rely on a female to fill the void that society and enslavement have placed upon them. Joe Trace and Paul D use violence, dominance, and ideals of courage to seek control of their masculinity. In both Beloved and Jazz, Morrison is very critical of her male characters, but also seeks to understand them and portrays her sympathy towards them. She does this so that the reader can understand how trauma can manifest itself in ugly ways, such as hypermasculinity. But also, proving to the reader that the men struggle immensely with figuring out their place in life. She wants the reader to be sympathetic towards these characters, even when it is hard to do so because they carry pain and suffering with them through their daily lives.

Hypermasculinity is a term that represents overdramatized masculine qualities. Some of these qualities may include extreme representations of dominance,...

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