Assumptions about Masculinity in "Captains Courageous" Analytical Essay by Master Researcher

Assumptions about Masculinity in "Captains Courageous"
A review of Rudyard Kipling's "Captains Courageous, A Story of the Grand Banks".
# 33082 | 650 words | 1 source | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Sep 22, 2003 in Literature (World) , English (Analysis)

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The paper examines Kipling's "Captains Courageous, A Story of the Grand Banks" and discusses how it is an exciting adventure story, with extensive references to history and fishing life. The paper discusses how although the text privileges hard work as a means of achieving desired traits such as selflessness, courage and self-reliance, it ultimately has cliched but still problematic ideals about masculinity. The paper asserts that its lack of feminine voices and its one-dimensional view of masculinity is troublesome for a modern reader.

From the Paper:

"The action of the story occurs on a small fishing boat, the comically named We're Here. The action of the narrative commences when the crew of the boat save 15 year old Harvey Cheyne, who has been washed overboard from one of his father's ocean liners, which was taking him to Europe. A conflict immediately begins as Harvey speaks disrespectfully to the captain of the fishing boat and is immediately punched in the nose by the older man. The Captain refuses to return Harvey to port at Gloucester, Massachusetts because it would mean a severe loss of money for the crew; instead, Harvey becomes a member of the crew. The reader, along with Harvey, learn about the fishing life, history, masculinity, and the values of Kipling's world.
"The protagonist of the texts, Harvey Cheyne, undergoes a dramatic change when he becomes part of the crew of the schooner We're Here. Symbolically, he falls from his life of privilege, represented by the wealthy ocean-liner, to a life of industry, toil, but ultimately also of "true" masculinity, represented by the fishing boat. He also falls from the course his father has set him (a course which leads to Europe) to a new course with his symbolic father, We're Here's Captain. The Captain seems to care more for Harvey and teach him more than Harvey's biological father ever did. Most of Kipling's text centers around the metamorphosis which Harvey undergoes. At first a pampered and arrogant son of a wealthy man, Harvey's challenges, adventures, and hard work aboard the We're here transform him into a decent, industrious, respectful, grateful, independent, simple living man."

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