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Discuss the struggle between two models of masculinity in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962) and Fight Club (David Fincher, 1999). How much do the two models differ? Is one ultimately victorious? If so, why? [FILM TEXTS] Essay Example

Masculinity in Films

Masculinity is the
act
and
characteristics that make one a fulfilled
man (Eberwein 33). Masculinity is valued in the
society since men are paramount
the
society. Masculinity is depicted
differently in films
and
characters
representing
masculinity may behave
according to the
social
set up in that
particular
community
where
the
film
develops. In an attempt to understand
the
concept
masculinity
it is paramount
for
discuss two movies that have
employed
the
concept. The
first
movie is a man
who
shot
liberty valance by John Ford 1962, and
the
fight
club 1999 by David Fincher. It is crucial to understand
the
plot of each of the two movies
hence judging from the
actions
and
circumstances that are exhibited by the
characters (Howell 78).

First, the
man
who
shot
liberty valance by John Ford 1962 is one of the
best
movies that were
produced in the
developing America. The
film
was
later
selected
for
the
purpose of preservation by the National film Registry since the
film is culturally and aesthetically paramount
for
the
nation. The
movie
starts
when
the
starring of the
movie Ranse Stoddard accompanied by his wife
arrives
in Shinbone to attend
the
funeral of an old
friend by the
name Tom Doniphon. Hallie, his wife, goes to the Apple Yard to see
the
burnt
houses
and upon returning
she
and Stoddard goes to the
undertaker to pay their last
respects to their old
friend. Journalists
wonder
why
such a great
senator would make
that
entire
journey
just to come
and
pay
last
respect to a mere
rancher (Grant 56). The
question triggers flashbacks several decades when
he
arrived in Shinbone through stagecoach that was
robbed by gangsters
who
were
led by liberty valance. Stoddard remembers
the
brutal
encounter with valance goons
and
the
circumstances that led to disappearing of his money. He
also
remembers
how Peter Ericsson, his wife Nora, nursed him, and their daughter Hallie nursed him until he
recovered
all his injuries (Grønstad 67).

The
people
who
were
living in Shinbone were
frequently
victimized by valance and his goons the
fact
that
made
people in the
area to fear him. The
town
marshal by the
name Apple yard has no
courage
or
skills in gun
fighting that might help him to overcome
the
goons
headed by valance. Valance
appears to be the
most
masculine
man in the
text since even
other
men cower at his hand (Giroux 67). His acts are, however, not masculine
taking into account
that
he
harasses
people to be feared, but
it
does not come
naturally out of
respect. However, the
late Doniphon (the
rancher
the
senator
comes to bade farewell) has the
guts to face him though
he
lacks
support from the
other
people. After the
robbery, Stoddard is left
penniless, and
he has nothing
that
he can use to sustain himself. He
earns a living through washing
the
dishes at the Ericsson restaurant, and
that
gives valance a chance to humiliate him now
and
then (Palahniuk et al 45).

Doniphon intervenes occasionally, Valance stands
down, and
leaves. Doniphon advises Stoddard to buy a gun
or
give Shinbone since that is the
only
language Valance understands. However, Stoddard disagrees
and
affirms
that
justice is the
only
way
forward to solve a challenge. His aspiration to start a law firm motivates him to inculcate
justice in Valance issue. Many
people in Shinbone believe
that
he is crazy, and
this
makes a target
for Valance. Stoddard continues to gain
affection
and
love by the
residents
when
he
starts
school to educate
the
residents. His masculinity in behavior
and
reason outlaws the
masculinity that is portrayed by Valance. The
masculinity of Doniphon and
that of Stoddard are more like similar
and
this
makes them important in the
film
and
theme of masculinity(Palahniuk et al 67). After starting
the
school, he
realizes
that Hallie cannot write
and as a man, he
takes
the
challenge
and
teaches her how to read
and
write. This
makes her feel
good, and
the
parents
appreciate
the
man
who will be ultimately
being
the
savior of the
society. Due to the
circumstances in the
society, Stoddard starts
learning
how to shoot a gun
in preparation of what may come in the
future. Doniphon gets to know
that Stoddard is learning
how to shoot
and
takes him to his house to give him some
lessons (Giroux 69). However, his masculinity is disapproved
when
he
shots a tin
paint
and humiliates Stoddard by spilling him over the
ink. Doniphon warns
that
the
action of Valance will much
more
devious than he did (Beynon 78).

Election
time
comes, and Shinbone residents
elected two delegates
for
the statehood convention in the
territorial
capital. Stoddard affirms
that
the statehood is in place
and will ensure
that
substantial
infrastructure
and
safety
is enhanced. Valance feels since he
was not noticed
and
elected, and
he
chooses
the
cattle
barons to go
and
interrupt
the
meeting. He
further
advised
that
the
town
people should be bullied to ensure
that elect Valance as the
delegate. However, Stoddard and Peabody are elected
hence valance-challenging Stoddard to a duel
that
evening. Doniphon advises Stoddard to leave
the
town, but Stoddard chooses to stay
hence
affirming his courage
and
masculinity. Valance confronts Peabody for
publishing flatteringly his defeat in the
election
and
he
destroys
the
newspaper
office
and
goes
ahead to assault him. Stoddard marches to the
street
so
that
he can face Valance in the
duel (Warfield 78).

Valannce toys with Stoddard by shooting
the
bucket
hence
drenching him. Moreover, he
disarms him through shooting him in the
hand. Coincidentally, Stoddard leads to fire
and
kills Valance, this
causes Hallie to respond with affection, and
it
proves
that
she
loves him.

Doniphon gets
drunk
and
drives all the
gang out of the
salon
for
they
were
calling
for
the lynching of Stoddard for
killing Valance. At this
point, the
masculinity
and
courage of Doniphon are portrayed. Doniphon being
drunken
sets his house on fire, but Pompey manages to save him. Consequently, Stoddard is hailed
the
man
who
shot
liberty valance in the
territorial
convention
for
the statehood. Later
on Doniphon reveals
that
he is the
one
who
shot Valance having
realized
that Hallie loved him, and
he
did
that to secure his happiness. The
film
depicts Stoddard as the
most
masculine
man
though
he
did not take
steps to publicize his actions. The
boldness of Stoddard makes him to be the
ultimate
he is. Moreover, his masculinity
makes him win Hallie over many others hence
proving to be the
best
man
and masculine in the
movie(Beynon 89).

The
other
movie that is showing
the
idea of masculinity is the Fight club by David Fencher. The
film
involves two main
characters
who are Jack and Tyler. Jack
works in automobile
company, and
he
flies
here
and
there
where
the
accident is reported
and
checking
whether there are any
potential
liabilities. On the
other
hand, Taylor works as a sales
clerk in Soap Company, and
he
proves to be a charismatic person (Neale 67). The two characters
meet in a plane, and
they
end up being
accomplices. Jack has been
suffering from insomnia
he
visits
the
doctors. Instead of giving
medication, the
doctor
advises him to be visiting
the
critical
sick
patients
and
more
especially
those
who are suffering from testicular cancer. Through visiting
such
patients, Jack would cry, and
that would help him to sleep. That
solved his problem
for a while not until Maria started
visiting
the
centers (Palahniuk et al 56).

Jack
feels
uneasy since in the
presence of Maria he cannot cry
hence
meaning
that
he cannot sleep. He
approaches Maria and
suggests
that
they should reschedule to ensure
that everybody is benefiting. On the
other
hand, Taylor organizes
and
explodes Jacks house to ensure
that
they
live in the
same
house. Maria coincidentally overdoses and
fears
that
if
she
sleeps
she will not wake up. He
calls
jack
but
he
ignores him. Taylor takes
the
opportunity
and
asks
for her. He
manages to keep her awake by having
sex
all
night. Jack
seems
irritated by the
actions of Taylor knowing
that
he
does not love her at all. The
friendship between Jack and Taylor leads to the
commencement of the
mysterious
fighting
club. It
starts
when Taylor asks to hit n him and
the
struggle
continue. They
continue
fighting in the in the
club
though
it is later
transferred to the
downstairs of the
house. They
formulate
rules of secrecy, but
the enrolment continues to increase (Trice 67).

Crisis
erupts between jack
and Taylor after realizing
that Taylor had
been
doing
things behind his back. He
even
confesses
that
he is the
one
who
blasted his house. Jack
feels
bad, and
the
whole
thing
continues to be a mystery. The
struggle between the two individuals
exists until the
end of Taylor after Jack shot him. Taylor appears to be a masculine
man
but in the real
sense
jack is the
ultimate masculine but
unsuccessful (Palahniuk et al 64). The
activities of Taylor are meant to harm him, Maria and
the
society
and
eventually
he
manages to bomb
the
credit
card
building to the
ground. Jack
loves Maria, but
he cannot withstand Taylor having
sex with her. He
feels
bad about it, but
he
does not prove his masculinity. Is
wrong
for him to know
that Taylor is just
using Maria, and
she cannot prove to Maria that
he is a man
enough
and can fight
for
what
he
believes
in.
Jack
and
all his actions
prove
he is masculine, but
he
does not use
the
masculinity
for his own
good. However, he
manages to rescue Maria and
he, many
things
have
happened
that
cost him a great
deal of his life (Palahniuk et al 65).

Considering
the two main
character that is Stoddard and Jack, it is evident
that
they are distinct in the
way
they
handle
issues. Stoddard is a bold
person
who
confronts
issues in the
right
way. Upon learning
that Valance and his goons organized
for
the
theft that took
place in the stagecoach, he
knows
that
the
justice
and
public
approval is the
only
way to overcome
the
challenges as associated with valance. He
lets
the Erickson family know whom
did
the
raid
and
the
public
get to know him as a kind
and
gentle
man. When valance confronts him, he
resolves not flee
or
buy a gun
he
affirms to the
public
that
the
justice is the
only
cause to ensure
that
the
community is living in accordance to the
set
standards. His masculinity
helps to gain
public
support in most of his endeavors
though a visitor in the
town. Moreover, when
it
comes to matters of love, he
does not fear to affirm to Hallie that
he
loves him, and
this
gives him an upper
hand in the
family. Therefore, his masculinity
and
boldness
makes him win
the
girl
who
was eyed by many
men in the
town. Doniphon is one of the
men
who
eye
the Hallie
but
he is not bold
enough to tell her, and
this
makes him a lesser
masculine
man in the
film. On the
other
hand, Jack loves Maria and Maria takes
the
chance
and
calls
though Jack ignores her. Finally, Maria gives in to Tylor and Jacks feels
much
pain. Following
the
incidence, Maria shows
hatred towards jack
simply
because
jack
was not bold
enough
and
loves her. Moreover, jack would have
given Taylor a few
punches
for
sleeping with Maria knowing
that
she
loved her. This
shows
that
the
challenges
that Jack faces are simply out of failing to assert his masculinity (Trice 89).

After learning
that Taylor was
the
one
who
set Jack’s house on fire, he should have
confronted
or
even
take him to the
police
but
he
simply
cowers
and
keeps
quiet. However, as a man
he has given Taylor a bunch of fists to make
sure
that
he
was a man. Following
the
incidence, Taylor seems like he
owns a jack
and
even
secludes him from the
operations .he plants
other
fighting
clubs
and
even
involves
the
police in the
mayhem without the
notice of jack. Jack
learns about when
it is too, late
hence
proving
that
he
was not keen
enough. On the
other
hand, Stoddard learns about the voraciousness of Valance and his goons and
decides to take
shooting
lessons (Howell 89). When Doniphon misbehaves during the
training, he
gives him several; punches
proving him a man. Moreover, when Valance invites him on a duel at night, he
vows to go
even
though
he
knows
that
the
worst
is expected from the
venture. Carrying a gun, and
alone
he
boldly
goes
and
he is toyed and
shot by Valance and his goons. Despite the
shot by Valance, he gathers his courage
and shoots him to death. From the
episode, it is evident
that his masculinity
leads to the
eventual
success
and
ultimately a successful
politician. On the
other
hand, the
eventual, losing of Jack, Taylor sleeping with Maria is a result of jack’s fear
and
lack of boldness(Howell 78).

In conclusion, it is evident
that
the
masculinity is evident in the two movies
discussed
above. Stoddard’s portrayal of the
standard
masculinity
leads him to the
ultimate
success during Jacks in suffering
and
losing. Being
muscular
means
being
courageous
wise
and
daring in solving
challenges
and in wanting
circumstances. The
aspect of Stoddard being
courageous
helps him to get a post as a delegate that furthers his political
career
and
getting a wife Hallie. On the
other
hand, jack
loses his home, job
and
he
almost
lost Maria. This
proves
that
he
was not a man
enough
because
if
he
had
applied his masculinity
effectively, he would have
overcome
the
challenged
the
face him.

Work Cited

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Grant, Barry Keith. Shadows of doubt: negotiations of masculinity in American genre films. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2011. Print.

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Spaces, Private Lives: Beyond the Culture of Cynicism. Lanham: Rowman
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Howell, Amanda. Popular music and masculinity in action films. London: Routledge, 2012. Print.

Print.
Reader in Sexuality. London; New York: Routledge, 1992. 277-287.
Neale, Steve. «Masculinity as Spectacle.» The Sexual Subject: A Screen

Palahniuk, Chuck, and Freddy Michalski. Fight club. Paris: Gallimard, 2007. Print.

Trice, Ashton D., and Samuel A. Holland. Heroes, antiheroes, and dolts: masculinity in American popular films, 1921-1999. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2001. Print.

Warfield, Nancy. The man who shot Liberty Valance: a study of John Ford’s film. New York, N.Y.: Little Film Gazette of N.D.W., 1975. Print.