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The Survivors


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Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

Created: 01/28/21

Replies: 9

Posted Jan. 28, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2619

Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

Kieran, Finn, Ash, and Sean are all what many people might call "nice guys"

Are they really?

Kieran's admission that some of the behaviors he took part in were not even fun speaks to the strength and predominance of certain cultural pressures in our society. What are some of the behaviors of male characters described in the novel that lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?


Posted Jan. 29, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
patty claire

Join Date: 04/05/19

Posts: 32

RE: Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

Here is a case where "boys will be boys" is part of the culture. A girl is something to be conquered. Girls are all judged by their looks and what a boy can get her to do, and then brag about it to his friends. We can only hope that this is changing today with more awareness and bringing such behavior to light.


Posted Jan. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melissa c.

Join Date: 01/10/21

Posts: 47

RE: Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

I think in smaller communities, stereotypes are even harder to break through . Generation after generation seem to continue the established patterns of behavior, including toxic cultures. It takes a strong-willed and insightful person to challenge the status quo, and then that person if often viewed as an outsider and shunned by many.


Posted Jan. 30, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Mary Alice

Join Date: 01/14/18

Posts: 22

RE: Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

I hate that Kieran had to learn the lessons in how to be a man partly by these tragedies. He does grow to understand that Finn could have been a better man. That Sean is fatally flawed and that Kieran could not go into the cave after him to save Sean as the tide comes in. But you can see how much Mia and Audrey mean to him and he cannot jeopardize that. He comes to know what being a man means, marrying Mia and being a protective father.


Posted Jan. 31, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 293

RE: Are the young men

This question makes me think of what I sometimes said to my son when he was growing up: I love you, but I do not like the way you are behaving right now. haha We always talked about the behavior and looked at how the situation could have been handled differently.

I do think that each of the boys had nice qualities and thought they were good people- -Finn was helpful around the house. He spent time pacesetting for his mother. He included his much younger brother in his business-cheap labor, yes, but he was teaching Kieran too. Toby spent time in nature with Liam, and they watched football together. He respected his wife enough to NOT be the partner to go after the laborer's girlfriend in the bar. On one hand I wonder are ANY of us the same people we were in high school? But on the other hand, the macho stuff was admired- -something to aspire to. It was expected that the nice guys worked hard on the football field and then partied hard too.

The toxic behavior was made more obvious because Kieran represented such a contrast.

I think the environment had something to do with it- -the nature of the town. You know, guys had jobs like deep sea divers and landscapers- -hard, physical labor. They deserved a few beers and laughs with the guys at the end of the day. Women worked in restaurants that the men owned. But I've seen this same behavior in big cities, the suburbs, and obviously in other countries. I guess the big picture for me is that it comes down to who wrote these "rules" in the first place? (And I'm talking long, long before this book was even written.) Who had the money, power, positions to set the tone for how men were going to behave and how women should respond to that behavior? Men did.


Posted Jan. 31, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
judithc

Join Date: 02/28/20

Posts: 25

RE: Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

When they were in high school they behaved like immature adolescents and were not so nice when it came to girls. When they were young adults their behavior improved and were much nicer guys.


Posted Feb. 05, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
susiej

Join Date: 10/15/14

Posts: 330

RE: Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

In general, the young men were "nice guys." This is not to say that they didn't have some character quirks that were not so nice, but as judithc says, with maturity much of their behavior improved. I agree also with patty claire when she says this sort of thing is pretty normal and for sure part of the culture in a community such as Evelyn Bay is. It is nothing new, has been this way forever - ancient history bears this out. I agree, also, with acstrine that such norms developed with those who had power and money and that has traditionally been men. However, our culture is changing. We are beginning to be more sensitive to differing expectations for men and women and addressing those for realistically. As we become more open-minded and accepting of ourselves and others, "good old boy" rules and clubs will diminish or disappear. Kieran's growth and progress is a good example of this.


Posted Feb. 07, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PiperUp

Join Date: 10/27/15

Posts: 146

RE: Are the young men "nice guys"? What behaviors of male characters described in the novel lend weight to the idea of a culture of toxic masculinity, and why do you think this culture exists?

I think this culture exists because it's often explained away as "boys being boys" & because most societies are still male dominated. As women continue to become leaders in different aspects of societies, perhaps it will change.


Posted Feb. 26, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 261

RE: Are the young men "nice guys&...

Here again is where the small community comes in. Morals are dictated by smaller communities. Boys are expected to 'be boys' and get in a certain amount of 'mischief'. This is 'expected'. Some communities allow more of this 'masculine behavior' and just write it off. Is it right - no, it is not. At a time when youth is at their most vulnerable age, and also most shape-able, iis not the time to sweep misbehaviors under the rug. It is a time to learn and correct that behavior. For the most part these are good kids - just let to run loose and make some less than wise choices without consequences.


Posted Mar. 09, 2021 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
NCjeanne

Join Date: 04/26/20

Posts: 2

RE: Are the young men "nice guys&...

I think the answer to this question depends on one’s personal standards and experiences.
My standards are pretty high because I’m the oldest (by six years) and only daughter among my siblings. Also, I teach middle school and high school students. Per general standards, I suppose the young men are “nice guys” — they’re not criminals or addicts or evil or even bullies.
But I think we do boys/young men a disservice by calling them nice guys simply because they’re not straight up “bad kids”. Until the characters in this book acquire some maturity through life’s curve balls, I think they do act with all the trappings of young white male privilege. They act out of selfishness, not selflessness. Their courage is of the “macho” type, not the “integrity” type. They want what they want (mostly girls and excitement) and they want it now.
I do wonder why boys/young men are generally let off the hook with a “boys will be boys” and a wink while girls /young women are expected to be less playful and don’t have those years in their lives to be carefree. Could the historical (and current) reason be because... Wham!, as soon as puberty starts, girls/young women can become pregnant and therefore are encouraged earlier than guys their age to be more serious, careful and responsible?


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