Hegemonic Masculinities in Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway and Jacob's Room
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Virginia Woolf’s novels have been analysed regarding their literary style, aesthetic quality and their contribution to the Modernist works with their originality and various novelties. Since masculinity studies started to be a big part of the studies in the fields such as literature and social studies, it has become possible to offer new perspectives to evaluate Woolf’s works. Hegemonic masculinity theory that is created by R. W. Connell is one of the most important and influential theories in the field of masculinity studies. It suggests that in every era, place, culture and space, there is a hegemonic masculinity that is deemed as the normal and glorified as the dominant masculinity type. This masculinity type is not something fixed and it is subject to change based on the changing and evolving nature of the society or context in which it is created. In his thesis, different hegemonic masculinities that are created in different circumstances in Virginia Woolf’s two novels, Mrs Dalloway and Jacob’s Room, are examined with examples of three male characters from these novels. The hegemonic masculinity that is created by World War I is examined through Septimus Smith, the one that is shaped by the imperialistic ideas is analysed through Peter Walsh and the one that is constructed in the gendered space of Cambridge University through education is examined through Jacob Flanders. It is argued that these male characters’ lives are harmed due to their endless chase of the hegemonic masculinity ideals. Consequently, this thesis claims that Woolf criticises patriarchy’s role in constructing hegemonic masculinity ideals because both patriarchy and hegemonic masculinity ideals victimise men by putting them into an endless cycle of trying to become an accepted and ideal man, and she displays her criticisms through the male characters she creates in Mrs Dalloway and Jacob’s Room.