Masculinity in Vietnam War Narratives

A Critical Study of Fiction, Films and Nonfiction Writings


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About the Book

Occurring alongside the Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Civil Rights, and other identity movements of the 1960s, the Vietnam War was part of an era that rescripted gender and other social identity roles for many, if not most, Americans. This book examines the ways in which the war and its accompanying movements greatly altered traditional American conceptions of masculinity, as reflected in discourses ranging from fictional narratives to memoirs, films, and military recruiting advertisements. Analysis of two canonical fiction texts—John Del Vecchio’s The 13th Valley and Bobbie Ann Mason’s In Country—illustrates the interrelatedness of race, sexuality, disability and masculinity, an approach appearing in no other book-length study. The text illustrates how, decades later, the masculine anxieties of the Vietnam era persist.

About the Author(s)

Brenda M. Boyle is an assistant professor of English and director of the Writing Center at Denison University in Granville, Ohio. She lives in Westerville.

Bibliographic Details

Brenda M. Boyle
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 211
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4538-7
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5439-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii
Preface      1

Introduction: The New Man Dance Discourse      3
1. “Don’t mean nothin’”: Race in the Production of Masculinities      23
2. The Nam Syndrome: Improper Sexuality, Improper Gender      59
3. Men Out of Mind: Disabilities in Vietnam War Stories      100
4. A Litmus Test for Masculinity: The Vietnam War at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century      144

Chapter Notes      165
Works Cited      183
Index      197

Book Reviews & Awards

“recommended”—Choice; “Boyle provides provocative, cutting-edge literary analyses of fictional and nonfictional texts pertaining to the war”—Men and Masculinities.