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Masculine Heroes

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Masculine heroes are credited in various American literatures as heroes who were brave and spoke their minds out freely without fear or conservation for the plight of the less fortunate and the oppressed in the society for instance in the  poem “song of myself” by Walt Whitman“… I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard…” here the hero speaks against every injustice both moral and illegal without fear of the resulting consequences. The concept of frontiers and masculinity are linked on several occasions throughout American literature.

“Leaves of grass” first published in 1855 is the recorded work of Walt Whitman (1819-1892) an American poet, who is widely regarded as a significant and influential American iconoclast in the 1980’s. His single book; “Leaves of grass” is a collection of several poems; Song of Myself, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd inclusive. The book is highly notable because of its constant praise of the natural and physical world and the role play of individual human beings in the world. It was controversial at its time because it recorded literature of praises and glory of senses such as homosexuality, which was considered an immoral and illegal act at the time.

Whitman personalizes himself in almost all his entire poems; in his poem “song of myself” he takes the role play of a frontier to speak against injustice. Being masculine; a male he says he can speak against all evil without fear or bias “I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, I harbor for good or bad, I permit to speak at every hazard” the author uses “I” to refers not only to him but the masculine fraternity, the author considers being masculine as an empowering aspect of speaking against injustice consequently being a masculine hero.

James Fenimore Cooper, a prolific and inspirational American novelist, popularly known for his masterpiece romantic literature “The Last of the Mohicans” through his writings he aids in bringing the concept of frontiers and masculinity in American literature. In his 2nd publication the “Pioneer” which features frontiersmen such as Natty Bumppo; a leather-stocking in his mid-age, amongst others. The concept of masculine heroism is brought forward by the fact that Natty Bumppo is a male activist who speaks against harsh treatment and killing of “pigeons” and the destruction of nature, in the literature. 

Nutty Bumppo only considers killing for a reason and with purpose “None pretended to collect the game, which lay scattered over the fields in such profusion as to cover the very ground with the fluttering victims." (Cooper 339). Cooper sees no sense in killing without a purpose. He argues that the harsh treatment of Native Americans the “pigeons” by the white man is unjust and wrong. (Cooper 342) Nutty is a hero in the context as he speaks against injustice of the oppressed.

In the Norton Anthology of American literature the book start off with the history of the first settlers in the America land and the beginning of the civil war, it includes the journals of Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine. All of which are male counterparts, the literature links masculine heroism and frontiers as it quotes the noble American heroes. The text also features the Declaration of independence quoting only the male counterpart that played role in the drafting of the independence treaty.

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