Critique on “Being A Man” by Paul Edward

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Paul Edward Theroux is an American travel writer and novelist whose many works have already been adopted as documentaries. He has published numerous works of fiction which have been adopted as featured films also. He is best known for his work, “The Great Railway Bazaar” which he wrote during his travel from America to Japan and back. The text by Paul Theroux “Being a Man” appears in his book, Sunrise with Sea monsters: Travels and Discoveries, 1964-1984,1985. Considering the fact essay is straight from his book I believe his audience is both men and women or anyone interested in. The primary subject is about men and how they are kept up to be in society. The thesis for this writing can be induced that manhood has always been disturbing socially, personally and emotionally for both men and women. It is an essay in which he mainly describes his intense dislike of being a man. Which also revolves around shifting attention from women’s everyday grievances while focusing as well as discussing men’s grievances. Assigning roles in society based on patriarchal setup and differentiation based on sexes is neither a new phenomenon nor a rare one. It has many affects one of which is gender expectations, assigning roles based on gender. These gender roles then make way one is supposed to behave in Society. Men and Women both grind under this system of societal expectations however attention is always towards women grievances. Theroux’s primary contention is he realizes that our societal standing and understanding of manhood is somehow affront. Author makes his argument more deeply rooted by connecting it with the concept that people are instilled such ideas within them from childhood till they are grown up and later are pressurized by society to keep in coherence with them. And men are then emphasized over and over again to act stupid and obtuse.  He relates this stereotype of obligatory living by adopting manliness, to the same way women are passing from the stereotypical womanliness concept of being fragile, shy, and more of a seducer for men. The text “Being a Man” by Paul Theroux clearly brings some key issues to light regarding society’s paradigms and easily portrays author’s views on the whole ideology and concept of manliness in society, his disliking for being a man, and its harmfulness. However, it is far excessively enthusiastic, individual and depends more on a specific perspective because of which one finds barely whatever other enticing contentions beside the emotional one.

Paul Theroux hates being a man and the idea of manliness in American society. Each individual is different from other based on traits, likings, hobbies, issues e.tc and this idea does not fit in everyone’s life that how one should be living. Being a man is cliché in what they can do or say. Men should be masculine animals, convey a blade, and play sports and should be left alone on their own. Which he intends to be available for men and women interested in such writings and affected by such practices. The purpose is to describe how society views men, how they are kept up by this idea of manhood and how harmful and insulting it really is.

The structure has always been an important part of academic writing because it is always the first thing which makes writing coherent expressing ideas in best possibility with ups and downs expressing authors state and point. Paul makes sure at every point that structure does not go loose thus making it near perfect. He builds his argument in first place by making personal examples, experiences then relating them with societal stereotypes. Several examples can be identified all over the article where he elaborates other such concepts and terms in the same manner mostly relating things to opinions and society stigmas. Strong primary sentences and highly developing transitions flowing throughout the article make it easy for the reader to follow the idea and making it easily understandable. In addition to all this, the author separated every paragraph of an article by using well-defined stages, starting from specific and reaching to general examples while making it differentiating each step expressively so the readers do not get confused. In addition to all this instead of his writing being an academic mostly, he uses an angry tone with diction language. Whenever academic essays are concerned, credibility is judged by the complexity and how well topic is related to the current situations. Author has made it his first priority to present complex things, however, is a somewhat easy way to understand. And chose a stance which can be very intriguing for everyone giving another view to the story we have always been taught by contrasting it simultaneously with its counterparts in opposite gender. Moreover, he mentioned many famous personalities, figures, and events which add credibility in his argument.

Paul Theroux’s article’s primary quality lies in the way that how profoundly he roots his own particular deduction into the culture and right now saw thoughts despite the fact that he does as such by implication. Also, by going straight forward direct connecting encounters with ordinary feelings of men. The content is reasonable and enticing as a writer has utilized the principal individual pronouns which mentally influence the readers at a considerably more profound level. Paul Theroux has managed to emphasize the understanding of how men from their childhood are brought up on the idea of manliness prevailing. Instilling within them the sense of being alone and a lot different from opposite genders thus leaving them in a confused state of mind for the rest of life. Likewise, Paul utilizes dynamic voice all through his article which makes the sentences shorter and more powerful and, more fathomable. At one point he explained how arts is considered to be minimal for men and only those which are considered fewer men opt for it. Society regards men to be ‘extreme animals’. This attitude begins with the way that in the prior periods, physical ability was required for the survival of the fittest however circumstances are different. Society directs that men ought not to be delicate. Thus, they fear to demonstrate any feelings, that’s how writing was disliked for men. Author on this point of Society dictates his personal experience as supporting stand that how much he faced during the times he opted for writing. In addition, he shows how public’s response toward writers was biased on writer’s character. If people think one is more manly one is going to be praised more as compared to other less manly writers. In the first half of essay writer successfully links all his supporting evidence to usual routine and encounters of the common man with societal values. Which is creating author’s stand more of a personal problem for the reader who can easily relate all these events to his own life. However, his evidence is not as accurate as it seems and raises many questions as it clearly shows author’s biased approach because of him being a writer and competition he is facing from some other successful writers which he perceived as more manly.   The account is thoughtful for the casualties of sexual orientation desires. The creator in an awful tone expresses that men are brought up in a way that makes them candidly separated. On the off chance that a man tries to do away this hurtful convention of not communicating sentiments, he is ridiculed by the general public. ‘Don’t be a girl’ is the as far as anyone knows disparaging comment tossed around by men. For supporting he again quotes a personal example aside from one boy’s camp which shows he was in one way or other was repetitive not intentionally but due to lack of supporting evidence and was tossing things on and off.

Paul Theroux’s main stand on manhood is, “be stupid, be unfeeling, obedient, soldierly, and stop thinking” (10). Author in path of showcasing manliness while expressing negative connotations of manhood and how men are usually brought to be suffer from this even they do not demand so, such are the points which are already prevailing, however, author fails to imply the words he is using in his essay. Everyone has got their own definitions and meanings to such personal words which author used primarily to persuade his audience. Author’s main objective on manhood is “emotionally damaging and socially harmful.” However, throughout his essay, he remains very distant from explaining the reasons why is it so and if reasons are really these then how can this problem be solved lack of such take on his evidence makes his overall support somehow weak to a point. The best Paul Theroux describes his support was when he depicts how our social understanding of gender roles and specially manhood affects building relations when he says it, “denies men the natural friendship of women”.Author goes down descending enlisting character’s devourby sports like making awful relational unions,  nonconformists, moral ruffians, twisted people, dormant attackers; notwithstanding, however he once again failed to jot down how sports and games are directly resulting in developing all this. All this lead to one stand only that he is a lot more being personal in his essay during which he forgets to take on a point which could have been proved most useful for him which is,how all this is causing social harm in first place? If it really is so then how can he prove that aside from emotional and personal taking ?.Paul Theroux spends very nearly almost third of his article exploiting writers who are more acknowledged in light of the fact that they have displayed indications of masculinity. This behavior of Paul can easily be taken as biased and his whole evidence thus can cripple on this point. Like actually he could have been shielding his underestimated work all the time which has not praised as much as others making all such speculations about manliness and society. In this essay Paul Theroux gives emotional and personal relief to those who are already inclined on the point that our preconceived notion about manliness and gender expectation should evolve or change now instead of providing a good argument for why that is recommended in first place or by explaining on sound basis that how it should be done.

What Paul Theroux actually brings out from this essay is that he made a successful try on enlightening the issue like what men actually suffer in their daily routine life.Such an issue which if he did not write on might have remained buried until now. He relied mostly on personal examples, experiences which made easier to connect with audience in order to make readers more inclined towards his ideas and beliefs on society. However, from academic point of view, he lacks on many instances to provide strong support aside from emotional one pointing out some events or figures. Moreover, not explaining these things and considering audience to understand all on their own seemed unclear. He without any doubt has portrayed easily the negative and pessimist story of being a man although he should have mentioned some positive aspects which are abundant too and should have been mentioned in order to give a neutral and stable look to his essay at least from academic point of view.


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  1. “being a man” has got to be the worst piece i’ve ever read. the statement about men having it just as hard is so idiotic. bunch of boo hoo

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