AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Masculinities in Player Piano

by Jonas Birgersson

Institution: Högskolan i Halmstad
Year: 2006
Keywords: Kurt Vonnegut; Masculinity studies; Science fiction; Totalitarianism; Patriarchy; Gender studies; English; Engelska
Record ID: 1341777
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-4220


Vonnegut envisions a plutocratic America where the aforementioned periphery has been made obsolete, where a corporate oligarchy supersedes the presidency in authority. An example of this structure is the absent father of the main character Paul Proteus, George Proteus, who was before his death the National Industrial, Commercial, Communications, Foodstuffs and Resources Director, a position which might have been below the presidency at that time , but the scales have tilted towards total domination by those who fuel the economy, i.e. the corporations. The ‘unenlightened’ Shah, spiritual leader of Bratpuhr who is visiting America to learn about the great American society, shakes his head and calls it “Communism” (21), which it is, with the exception that there is no Communist Party. In its place is the oligarchy of the corporations which the government allows to prevent inefficiency. I argue that the hegemonic masculinity, or the masculinity of the patriarchy, provides both motivation and justification for the men who are constructing the totalitarian state of Player Piano. I will furthermore look at the effects, on both society and the individual, of a hegemonic masculinity.