AbstractsLaw & Legal Studies

Masculinities in Player Piano

by Jonas Birgersson

Institution: Högskolan i Halmstad
Year: 0
Keywords: Masculinity; Player Piano; Hegemonic masculinity; Totalitarian state; English; Engelska; humaniora/teologi; Humanities, Theology
Record ID: 1342641
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-1031


Player Piano, published in 1952, primarily deals with the theme of men, or masculinities, made redundant by technological advance. This theme has in more recent years been highlighted by, for instance, Men's Liberation groups. The machinery introduced in the Industrial Revolution has, in Vonnegut's future, been refined to the point that manpower has been replaced with mechpower, where those deemed unfit for “academic” studies either must serve twenty-five years in the military or working with the "Reeks and Wrecks", the Reconstruction and Reclamation Corps. This structure is enforced and maintained by a totalitarian state. However, Vonnegut’s state is slightly different from the popular image of ‘Big Brother’, i.e. an impersonal, near-omniscient and inhuman government. It is highly human, meaning that Vonnegut examines the men behind the machinery on a more personal level, thus making possible an examination of their motives and ideas. 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.