Stance: Studies on the Family is associated with Brigham Young University. This student journal was created to encourage students from all disciplines to research and to write about the institution of marriage and family. Our journal emphasizes the impact that marriage and family have on society and increases awareness of current issues affecting the family. We encourage professionalism, respect, and tolerance.
Studies on the Family
Studies on the Family
Studies on the Family
John Livingstone, Academic Advisor Catherine Ann Hollingsworth, Editor-in-Chief Sarah Perkins, Managing Senior Editor Jessica Porter, Senior Editor Janai Gariety, Social Media Director Sam Lund, Social Media Advisor Becca Barrus, Creative Director Bryn Adams, Editor Karee Brown, Editor Melissa Gee, Editor Conor Hilton, Editor Chelsea Jamison, Editor Ashley Smith, Editor
Cover artwork courtesy of Peggy Hughes. The contents represent the opinions and beliefs of the authors and not necessarily those of the editors, staff, advisors, Brigham Young University, or its sponsoring institution, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the editors and staff have checked the contents for accuracy, responsibility remains with the authors for content and sources cited within. Current students are invited to submit manuscripts as well as any questions or comments via email at email@example.com
Copyright ÂŠ 2015. All rights reserved.
Stance: Studies on the Family Printed in the United States of America.
Table of Contents
The Maker and the Family Structure Peggy Hughes.........................................................................................................................1
Romantic Mentors and Absent Parents in the Female Bildungsroman Becca Barrus...........................................................................................................................9
The Lies My Father Told: An Essay Katie Duckworth................................................................................................................19
A New Kind of Superhero: Gendered Representations in Young Avengers Andrew Darowski...............................................................................................................31
The Truth Ethan Marston.....................................................................................................................49
The Return Home and the Quest for Self-Identity Catherine Ann Hollingsworth........................................................................................51
Sister, Sister Elizabeth Barton.................................................................................................................67
The Father and Mother of Us All: Interpretations of Christ's Blood and Gender Roles in Works of William Langland and Julian of Norwich Shane Peterson....................................................................................................................69
Same-Sex Marriage: Perspectives to Consider Karee Brown & Conor Hilton.......................................................................................81
Parent-Child Attachment Security and Its Influence on Later Relationships Rebecca Walsh....................................................................................................................89
Photographs Genevieve Pettijohn...........................................................................................................99
Staying Home, the Mother's Choice: Perspectives to Consider Brittney Wallentine & Jessica Porter............................................................................109
Paternal Grief of Stillbirth: A Clarion Call to Action Matthew Stradley..............................................................................................................113
Letter From the Editor
The cover artwork is a photograph of one of the sculptures created by Peggy Hughes. This sculpture has various shapes in various colors, from deep emerald to light, crystal white, from cherry red to golden hues. All of these different shapes and colors placed next to one another create an exciting whole. Similarly, what it means to have a family, to be married, to have children, and to have meaningful relationships is quite varied, even within the confines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Family and marital relationshipsâ€”the focus of our student journalâ€”encompass a wide range of perspectives. With this journal, we encourage professionalism, respect, and tolerance for insights that may initially be different from our own. Just as all the unique shapes and colors make an incredible sculpture, recognizing different perspectives is essential to understand what it means to be human and to have relationships with family and loved ones. This journal includes academic work, creative writing, photography and artwork, and personal essays. Topics, such as same-sex marriage and mothers in the workforce, is explored from left and right perspectives. Literary analysis of books from Medieval times to the Modernist era provides insight of how the family is represented. We can find here the devestation that both mothers and fathers experience from the death of a child. Additionally, the importance of communication between father and x
daughter and between sister and sister is examined. What does it mean to tell the truthâ€”to be truthful to yourself and to others? We find the answer in the poem "The Truth" as well as in the creative works included here that beautifully show what it means to open oneself up to examining the heart of important matters. We hope you enjoy the effort that has been contributed in making this journal unique and insightful and find this issue both entertaining and enlightening. Please share it with your friends and family. Catherine Ann Hollingsworth Editor-in-Chief
The Maker and the Family Structure Peggy Hughes
am a sixty-six-year-old student in my second year of the MFA program. My emphasis is sculpture. When I was young, I received my BA in print and broadcast journalism and my MA in communications, both at Brigham Young University. I am the mother of four children, one of whom was born when I was fourty-three. My husband is John Hughes, who teaches journalism at BYU. As a single mother, I worked in Washington, D.C. for ten years for the Department of Energy, the United States Information Agency, the Voice of America, and Radio Marti. It was in Washington that I met John and married again when I was forty. I made the glass sculpture for a student group exhibit in a gallery space which we made at the Provo Town Center Mall. The exhibit was for a class taught by Professor Fidalis Buehler. The sculpture is an exploration of the properties of glass and light. As viewers look at the sculpture, they will see the changes in form made by the patterns in the glass. My work connects with the family in two different ways: first, the maker, and second, the family structure. 1
2 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family As the maker, I hope to encourage women to continue learning throughout their lives. Art is a wonderful way to connect with beauty and lifeâ€™s experiences, regardless of age. The sculpture can be read as a reference to family structure and relationships. The family is capable of changing and creating new forms and patterns while still maintaining its original framework.
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Romantic Mentors and Absent Parents in the Female Bildungsroman Becca Barrus
This article compares and contrasts the coming-of-age stories of Daisy Miller by Henry James and Emma by Jane Austen. The title character in Daisy Miller is a young woman from America who is on a grand tour of Europe during the latter half of the eighteenth century. She is not educated in social customs and eventually dies of “Roman fever” in Italy. The title character in Emma is a socially privileged young woman who spends her time making romantic matches for her friends. After quite a few mix-ups and misunderstandings, everyone marries their perfect match, including Emma herself.
arentally bereft [people are] somehow more thrilling than parentally provided ones,” wrote Henry James in his memoir in 1913 (Edel 60). The same principle might be applied to characters in novels—the most thrilling protagonists are the ones with parents that are either absent or ineffective. For example, both Jane Austen and Henry James (the metaphorical bookends of the twentieth century bildungsroman tradition) omit positive parental figures from their works, specifically in the novels Emma and Daisy Miller. Some twentieth-century critics are of the opinion that this is because these authors were making scathing commentaries about their own parents or parenthood in general. 9
10 • Stance: Studies on the Family However, the lack of competent parents can also be seen as a necessary literary device which gives the young women the opportunity to grow into full-fledged adults in the course of the novel. The question the reader should be asking is not whether or not the absence of effective parents is a product of the author’s poor childhood experiences or a construct of the genre: rather, the reader should be asking who is taking the place of the parents and what is the result of their choice in mentor? The young woman’s choice of a mentor or parent-figure is what ultimately decides her fate. Emma and Daisy Miller in particular illustrate the huge disparity in the consequences of choosing a mentor. In Emma’s case, choosing Mr. Knightley leads her to greater social status and improved moral character. In Daisy’s case, choosing Mr. Winterbourne leads her to social disgrace and, ultimately, death.
The History There seemed to be a general consensus among critics pre-1990 that the reason Jane Austen wrote such inadequate parent figures was because her relationship with her parents (specifically with her mother) was strained or because she was making a social commentary on parenthood as a whole. There is certainly no lack of neglectful, abusive, or absent parents to draw from in Austen’s writing, which some scholars use as evidence of both theories. D. W. Harding wrote in 1940 that Austen had a fascination with “the Cinderella theme” where “the princess [was] brought up by unworthy parents” because she saw herself as a Cinderella figure who had been brought up by “unworthy” parents as well (16). In 1975, Mary Burgan wrote an essay about the failed fathers in Austen’s works in which she claims that the unflattering portraits of fatherhood (Mr. Bennet, Mr. Woodhouse, General Tilney, etc.,) are a criticism of the patriarchal hierarchy in general (537). E. Margaret Moore said in 1969 that Austen’s aversion to parenthood is due to the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Austen were distant physically and emotionally during the early formative years of her life (580). However, Moore also admits that there are few primary sources that can prove this theory. Carol Shields expounds upon this idea in her 2001 biography of the author (simply called Jane Austen) by saying biographers have a few established facts about Austen’s life that they then flesh out with speculation based on her novels. However, Shields concedes that it is true that the Austen children
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were sent to be raised by a foster family until they were three or four (11, 16). This apparent abandonment could be construed as a reason that Austen might feel resentful toward her parents; however, we have no evidence to support such a speculation. These conjectures have not only influenced the academic sphere, but also the way the casual Austen fan sees Austen’s relationship with her mother, who is notably presented as a Mrs. Bennet— type character in the 2007 film Becoming Jane. To most, it seems natural to assume that Austen’s alleged unhappy family relationships were the source of inspiration for the unhappy family relationships in her novels, but there simply is not enough factual evidence to prove this claim. There is a stronger argument that the lack of positive parents in Henry James’s work is a result of his own less than ideal family situation. There is a larger quantity of documentation from primary sources about Henry James and his family than about Austen and hers, which might suggest that his fictional parent figures are based on reality. Linda Simon, an acclaimed James scholar, asserts that from an early age James struggled with earning his father’s stingily given approval (361). She describes his father as domineering and somewhat selfish, moving his entire family from America to Europe and back multiple times in pursuit of his own academic career (361). While James got along better with his mother than with his father, Simon proposes that it was not a healthy relationship and that the atmosphere in the James household could be described as “tense and even assaulting” (365). However, neither Leon Edel nor F.W. Dupee, two of the foremost James biographers, paints a picture of James’s youth that entirely agrees with Simon’s. Indeed, Dupee points out that James called his mother sweet and mild and that she was the glue that held the family together (16). They all seem to agree, though, that there was a spirit of intellectual competition between the men in the James family, what with Henry Sr., William, and Henry Jr. all being writers and scholars. James’s brother Robinson wrote that when he was twelve he was so overwhelmed by the talents of his father and older brothers that he felt like “a foundling” (Edel 61). This feeling of displacement and rivalry could certainly be grounds for the argument that James had family-related angst to work out through his fiction. However, since Daisy’s father in Daisy Miller is an absent figure rather than a literary rival, it is safe to say that James’s personal life did not play a major part in that particular fictional decision.
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The Bildungsroman While biographical readings of Emma and Daisy Miller are valid, there is another interpretation: Both Austen and James chose to portray poor or missing parents because it is a convention of the bildungsroman. A bildungsroman by definition is a story in which “the central theme . . . is the education of the hero who is brought to a high level of consciousness through a series of experiences that lead to his development” (Baruch 335). Both novels are coming-of-age stories where the immature heroine must make the journey from adolescence to adulthood or perish. It is the custom for the main characters of bildungsroman to be separated from or disagree with their parents in order for them to exercise their own agency and become their own person. In the process, they must find a mentor who will impart wisdom and correct behavior. In his book Mentoring in EighteenthCentury British Literature and Culture, Anthony W. Lee says that mentors must have two qualities: authority and influence (2). They must have a position of power over the young person, and they must hold a considerable amount of influence in order to make a significant impact on the protagonist’s life. However, as critics such as Susan Fraiman, Denise Kohn, and Elaine Hoffman Baruch have pointed out, the female bildungsroman differs from the typical male bildungsroman in that the young women must make their journey while still staying in the domestic sphere and are often still dependent on their authority figure when they have completed it. Baruch notes, “Whereas a traditional sign of manhood lies in the hero’s ability to give up guides, the test of womanhood has resided in the heroine’s ability to find a mentor” (338). Fraiman also writes about the trend of young heroines lacking guidance: She [the heroine of the bildungsroman] rarely has a formal education, mothers are usually dead or deficient as models, and the lessons of older men are apt to have voluptuous overtones; though she may spend the whole novel in search of positive maternal figures, it is too often true that her one mentor is the man who schools her in order to wed her. And finally, consequently, when the mentor is a husband and when apprenticeship reduces to a process of marital binding, it never leads the heroine to mastery but only to a lifetime as a perennial novice (6). Marriage to one’s mentor is the ultimate accomplishment in the journey to becoming an adult woman, a rite of passage that is not necessary for the male hero. This means, however, that the heroine is coupled with her
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mentor for the rest of her life. In essence, her coming-of-age is never fully completed because she is always learning from and being guided by her husband-mentor. This is why women in bildungsromane are rarely if ever mentors. According to this theory, women are never fully independent and any attempt at mentorship would simply be a case of the blind leading the blind1 (see also Emma’s disastrous attempt at mentoring Harriet Smith). Both Emma Woodhouse and Daisy Miller must follow this pattern of action and find the best romantic mentor they can in the absence of good, effective parents.
The Situation of Emma Within the first few paragraphs of the novel, readers of Emma learn that Emma Woodhouse has “a most affectionate, indulgent father,” and that at an early age her mother had died and been replaced by “an excellent woman as governess, who had fallen little short of a mother in affection” (Austen 1). Mr. Woodhouse is indeed affectionate and indulgent, but these traits make him more of a child figure than a father figure. Emma considers taking care of her father as a natural part of her duties as mistress of Hartfield, despite the fact that in an ideal situation, it would be Mr. Woodhouse taking care of Emma. Mr. Woodhouse never gives direct commands, and Emma only takes his feelings into consideration when making decisions, rather than worrying about his judgment or authority. Miss Taylor, her governess and mentor figure, leaves Emma’s permanent company in the beginning of the novel to get married to their neighbor Mr. Weston, but, if Mr. Knightley is to be believed, she is not much of an authority figure in Emma’s life either. He says that Mrs. Weston is not able to persuade Emma to read as much as she (Mrs. Weston) would have liked (47). This applies not only to Emma’s reading habits, but her moral habits as well. While a kind, affectionate woman, Mrs. Weston is more of a friend or older sister character to Emma, since she holds no real sway over Emma’s behavior for good or ill. According to Lee’s model of mentoring, Mrs. Weston has only a little authority and influence. The only other adult women in Emma’s small world are Miss Bates, Mrs. Bates, Mrs. Elton (all of whom have neither authority nor influence and are somewhat repugnant to Emma), and her older sister, Mrs. Isabella Knightley (who might have some authority, but clearly has no influence). None of these women are suitable for the role of helping Emma change from a selfish adolescent to a socially conscious adult.
14 • Stance: Studies on the Family The role of Emma’s mentor, therefore, must fall to a man who has both authority and influence over her. Since she never leaves Highbury, her options are, again, limited, but she chooses her neighbor, friend, and sister’s brother-in-law Mr. Knightley as her guide. There is something to be said for whether or not it was an unconscious decision. There is never a point where Emma decides outright that she is going to listen to what Mr. Knightley has to say and take it into account when she makes judgments. In the beginning of the novel, she disregards his warnings and advice concerning Mr. Elton and Robert Martin completely (62, 64). Nevertheless, when Mr. Knightley censures Emma for her unfeeling words towards Miss Bates in the Box Hill scene, it becomes apparent that she cares a great deal for his good opinion and does everything she can to become a better friend and neighbor to Miss Bates and Jane Fairfax (130). It is Mr. Knightley’s conscious and careful tutelage (which is influenced by his love for her and his desire to marry her) that helps Emma truly reach adulthood. Emma is fortunate in choosing Mr. Knightley as her mentor because he has strong moral values, like the proper treatment of the lower classes and unfortunate spinsters, which he endeavors to teach her. She’s also fortunate in the regard that he is a willing teacher. In his proposal, he says that he has lectured her in the ways of proper behavior (implying that it was an active choice on his part) and that she has borne it impressively (142). In the end of the novel, Emma marries Mr. Knightley and will likely spend the rest of her life being guided by his superior judgment. So, while Emma is less independent than before her marriage, she is able to achieve full-fledged, female adulthood.
The Situation of Daisy Daisy Miller’s parental situation is almost the mirror opposite of Emma Woodhouse’s. Her father is not dead, but absent (“in a better place,” which, according to Randolph Miller, is Schenecdaty, New York) and her mother is an ineffective hypochondriac ( James 10, 19). Her mother is well-meaning, but does not know the rules of American society in Europe, and even if she did, she lacks the influence over Daisy necessary to make a difference in her daughter’s actions. Daisy is not as fortunate as Emma to have even a Mrs. Weston to guide her in the rules of what is appropriate in society. She only has their courier Eugenio, who is useful for planning day trips and sharing the gossip about other Americans, but not for giving her moral advice. He has neither influence nor authority. Mr. Winterbourne’s
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aunt Mrs. Costello is a potential mentor figure in that she has authority and influence in society, but she refuses to be introduced to Daisy, so whether or not Daisy would have been benefitted by her guidance is a moot point (16). When the Millers are in Rome they strike up an acquaintance with Mrs. Walker, who is not as high on the social ladder as Mrs. Costello, but she is of some influence among the Americans in Europe. When Daisy announces that she is going on a walk with Giovanelli, both Winterbourne and Mrs. Walker follow her (36, 40). Their motives, nevertheless, are vastly different. Winterbourne goes because he is jealous of any man with whom Daisy spends time, while Mrs. Walker goes because she is concerned about Daisy’s good name. She worries about the sort of reputation Daisy is creating for herself by going out with a young man by herself in the middle of the day. It is interesting to note that both Mrs. Costello and Mrs. Walker are married, so they have entered the final stage of female adulthood, but neither of their husbands make an appearance in the course of the novel, so they are free of a mentor. The fact that they are free to guide their own lives makes them ideal female mentors, but, alas, Mrs. Costello rejects Daisy and Daisy rejects Mrs. Walker. Of all the other people in the novel, Daisy unfortunately chooses to hold Mr. Winterbourne’s opinion in highest regard. She spends time with Giovanelli in Rome, but it is Winterbourne whose words and actions influence how Daisy acts in her path to adulthood and it is to Winterbourne she sends a message when she’s sick. (Giovanelli would be a potential mentor, but he can’t teach Daisy the rules of society because he is not a member of her circle.) It’s a pity, really, because Winterbourne, while he has both authority and influence (in society and over Daisy), has an inconsistent opinion of Daisy and is an unwilling mentor. When defending Daisy to his aunt, Winterbourne’s strongest defense is that she is “nice” and “pretty” ( James 16, 17). He never mentions that Daisy has an inherent worth as either a woman or a person. He never says that she commits social faux-paux because her father is gone and her mother is socially incompetent. Winterbourne is completely uninterested in Daisy’s behavior unless it directly affects him and his feelings. It’s unclear how much he wants to get involved with Daisy—he says that he wants her to flirt only with him, but he also implies that he wants nothing to do with her if she expects him to “carry her away” (47, 16). He doesn’t want to marry Daisy. He only wants to have her all to himself and play with her heart a little. When Winterbourne says that he doesn’t care whether or not Daisy is engaged to Giovanelli, Daisy decides to be rebel and show
16 • Stance: Studies on the Family Winterbourne that she doesn’t care what he thinks (though she does) and go to the Coliseum at night with Giovanelli. It is this decision that leads to her catching “Roman fever” and dying (59, 60).
Conclusion Growing up is hard. It is hard in fiction, and it is hard in reality, as both Jane Austen and Henry James could perhaps attest. It’s even harder when a person doesn’t have parents to guide them through the process. The disparity between Emma Woodhouse and Daisy Miller—between successfully becoming an adult and dying at age seventeen—is large. They’re both wealthy and good-looking members of the gentry. Neither of them have a functioning set of influential or authoritative parents since Austen and James chose to make their protagonists “parentally bereft,” a necessary construct of the bildungsroman. Both of them are confined to the domestic sphere in their journey, and neither of them has a particularly impressive education. The only apparent difference between the two young women is their choice in mentors and romantic partners, yet the outcome of their lives is so dependent on this one choice that it hardly seems fair. To put one’s heart, development, and life in the hands of a man who may or may not take his role seriously is a great risk, one that can have deadly consequences.
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Works Cited Austen, Jane. Emma. New York: Dover Publications, 1999. Print. Burgan, Mary A. “Mr. Bennet and the Failures of Fatherhood in Jane Austen’s Novels.” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 74.4 (1975): 536–52. Print. Dupee, F. W. Henry James. New York: William Morrow, 1974. Print. Edel, Leon. Henry James: The Untried Years, 1843–1870. Suffolk: Richard Clay, 1953. Print. Fraiman, Susan. “Is There a Female Bildungsroman?” Unbecoming Women: British Women Writers and The Novel of Development. Ed. Susan Fraiman. New York: Columbia University Press, 1993. 1–31. Print. Harding, D. W. “Regulated Hatred: An Aspect of the Work of Jane Austen.” Regulated Hatred and Other Essays on Jane Austen. Ed. Monica Lawlor. Oxford: Athlone Press, 1998. 1–26. Print. James, Henry. The Portable Henry James. Ed. John Auchard. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. 1–61. Print. Kohn, Denise. “Reading ‘Emma’ as a Lesson on ‘Ladyhood’: A Study in the Domestic ‘Bildungsroman.’” Essays in Literature 22.1 (1995): 45–58. Print. Lee, Anthony W. Mentoring in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010. Print. Moore, E. Margaret. “Emma and Miss Bates: Early Experiences of Separation and the Theme of Dependency in Jane Austen’s Novels.” Studies in English Literature 9.4 (1969): 573–85. Print. Shields, Carol. Jane Austen. New York: Penguin Group, 2001. Print. Simon, Linda. “The Others: Henry James’s Family.” A Companion to Henry James. Ed. Greg W. Zacharias. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. 360–73. Print.
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Endnote 1. This is obviously not the case in reality. Betty Rizzoâ€™s book Companions Without Vows outlines a good number of positive mentoring relationships between real women in the eighteenth century.
The Lies My Father Told: An Essay Katie Duckworth
y father is a man of few words.
“Where did you get that, Dad?” “The gittin’ place.” “Can I go, Dad? Please-oh-please?” “Ask your mother.” “Why did we come here, Dad?” “Don’t worry about it.” “What are you gonna do today, Dad?” “Work.” “Did you like it, Dad?” “Eh.” 19
20 • Stance: Studies on the Family “Where are we goin’, Dad?” “You ask too many questions.”
• After Dad graduated from Texas Tech, we moved to an old family cabin in the Cascades. It lasted only a few months, but my Californian, post-partum mother suffered. In the heart of the rainforest, where the cedars block out the sun and the river roars all hours of the night, Mum busied herself with sewing, cooking, teaching me to read, and sitting outside on the deck. One day, we took a trip to the big city. I got a swimsuit. It was gold, with citrus slices printed on the front. I couldn’t wait to try it out. Mum said that Calvin needed a nap, which meant she needed one too. I sat on the caramel leather couch for what seemed an eternity, my swimsuit in my lap. I knew I wasn’t allowed to go down to the river without an adult sitting on the porch. The orange slices were so shiny. I pulled off the paper tags. I emerged from the bathroom, positively glowing gold. Dad would be home soon. I wouldn’t have to wait. He would be home soon. I flew down to the riverbank, where daisies and buttercups grew in ashy sand. I loved to dig my toes in and feel the coolness of the earth. But now was not the time for games. I was on a mission. Between the banks was a boulder. It seemed to grow obstinately out of the water like a stump in a winter field, shaped like a shoulder in a bathtub. The sun shone so brilliantly on its emerald fur and dolphin sides that it looked nothing less than a mermaid’s perch. I had to reach it. I had to sit like a mermaid. My feet stumbled over smooth pebbles and patches of algae. I hunched over, using the dry stones as handrails—a determined yellow ape, unable to swim. The irritated melted snow shoved at my knees, my hips. At last my little hands clung to Mermaid Perch. I swung a leg over, astride a water dragon, gazing at a river I had never seen before, my ears full of roar. No grown-up had helped me, the brilliant swimmer, the mermaid. I clamped my legs together like a fin.
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All at once, a frothy cloud passed over the sun. Cold wind blew at my wet shoulders. I glanced back at the cabin and saw how dark it was, the way a bucket looks as it descends into a well. A current crashed—the dragon bucked—fingers scrabbled at moss—splash—I clung to the boulder with all my might, gasping for air, feet flailing to reach an impossible bottom. I knew there was a waterfall, not far downstream. Dad had told me dozens of times. My curls fanned out behind me, as though the river would drag me by the hair first. I cried out for someone, anyone, to hear me. But Mum slept so soundly. I was slipping. They would never find my body. And then someone, a black-haired man in an orange shirt, came racing down the hill. His sandaled feet splashed toward me. A large hand grabbed the gold straps on my back and ripped me out of the water, gasping and spluttering. After a quick looking-over to make sure I wasn’t bleeding, Dad wrapped me in a towel and sat me in front of the fire. My hysterical voice cried out over and over again, “I would’ve gone over the waterfall!” Dad grinned uncomfortably. As if there was no waterfall.
• Punishments were conducted the same way he did everything else: short and sweet and opportunistic. Dad explained that it was him and Mum vs. the children. Kids and parents could be allies from time to time. But when we were at home being crummy children all Dad had to do was one of three things: 1. Stomp down the hallway and shout (a rare occurrence by itself ), “What’s all this?” He still does this, we still jump. Now he chuckles to himself afterward. Play-acting. 2. Pull off his leather belt and cra-c-c-k-k. We scatter. I don’t remember him actually hitting us with it, but he’d pop it ’round our knees like an athlete with a wet towel and we’d head for the hills. He likes that one. No words required to instill fear into our hearts. 3. Last, but not least, in the event Dad was wearing coveralls and had no belt, he would announce to the room of squabbling children: “If you don’t quit it right now, I’m going to spank your mother!”
22 • Stance: Studies on the Family Immediately, Mum would wail and flee in an opposite direction and Dad would chase after her, a wild look in his eyes. “Noooo!” we’d plead, tugging Dad away. “Don’t spank Mum! She hasn’t done anything!” Mum would yelp and squeal, and we would howl and beg for the madness to end. It took me until college to remember these incidents. I sat up in bed in the wee hours of the morning and realized the awful, awful truth—my parents were acting. Could it be that they enjoyed it . . . ?
• In the seventh grade, I woke to sun streaming through the window. My limbs felt rested, and I rolled into a sticky puddle of pillow drool. A moment of splendid promise of day passed. The alarm told me school had already started. Moment over. Flying upstairs, eyes swollen to slits, hair like a drunken German composer, I announced to the house that I had missed the bus. Mum looked unsympathetic. I headed for the office. “Dad?” I said to stacks of books and papers, under which sat two cherry desks and a man in a leather seat. He wore a headlamp and seemed to be digging in the color printer with a screwdriver. He looked up, fluorescent blue light glaring in my eyes. “Dad!” He chortled and switched off the lamp. “Yes?” “I missed the bus.” He nodded, as though I were a dry, ponderous tour guide in a city hall. No lectures about sleeping in. No lectures about double-checking the alarm clock. “Will you take me to school?” He looked at me, headlamp askew, surrounded by hundreds of books: textbooks, law books, history, journals, magazines, nonfiction. Stacks upon stacks of important and unimportant papers and folders jumbled together in one
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great collage of success or reclusion or midlife crisis. Emerald trees, heavy with dew, gleamed beyond the dusty windows, a reminder how very far we all lived from civilization. “What’s in it for me?” he asked. I thought hard. It would take resources, not persuasion or coercion. I had a little birthday money left over. “I’ll give you five bucks.” Dad cocked his head, deciding whether to break the news that five dollars would merely cover the fuel necessary. “Okay,” he said, torn between laughing at me and trying to help me feel grown-up. “When would you like to leave?”
• On a cold afternoon in January, we sat on the edge of Mount Baker’s sledding bowl. This was no ordinary sledding hill; it looked like a dried up lake, with thirty-foot sides that sent the brave screaming for mercy into spectacular pile-ups at the bottom. We huffed, our faces rubbed raw by the wet snow and legs complaining that there was no ski lift. “Hey, Dad! You should come sled with us,” I said. Dad looked around at us as though we were mad. “Come on,” goaded Calvin, shaking the snow off his disc. “It’d be great!” As though he were explaining why kissing porcupines is a bad idea, Dad announced, “I am a delicate flower.” Shrapnel of exploded sleds littered the ground behind him, no doubt mingled with the bones and teeth of past vacationers. “If I get injured, that’s the end of our income.” “You’re not a delicate flower!” Calvin shot back. I, on the other hand, nodded grimly. Our house did not cost “about ten dollars” as Dad had always told us. He did not make steady monthly income. He saved everything he could so we would be debt-free and understand the value of work. No doubt he was fixing the washing machine, weighing the cost of
24 • Stance: Studies on the Family Chinese gaskets against American gaskets, and rebuilding our van as he sat on the hillside. I told Calvin to stop pestering him.
• Marnie is the youngest, the sister whose arrival heralded a welcome end to the parade of nights of Legos and sword fighting. When we moved to the island, I was almost ten. Mum held the nine-month-old baby out to me and said, “Here. Hold this.” I, horrified, said, “What, Marnie?” I held that girl. For three days. I didn’t know she was fussy, that her few wispy curls would fall straight as though the electricity had spilled out like jelly beans from a bowl, or that she would be a ballerina, or that she would be the only one of us who liked math, or that she would be messier than me. All I knew was I had a ready-made roommate and friend. She approached me at four, a scribbled-on book in her arms. I sat at the desktop with homework. “Katie, will you read to me?” Distracted, I grunted that she should ask Mum or Dad. “Mum’s working and Dad can’t read.” I let go of the mouse as the sense of this strange sentence sank in. “Dad can’t read?” “Nuh-uh.” “How do you know?” Marnie shrugged. “He always says he can’t read.” I knew unveiling this fraud would need to occur gradually. He was always busy hammering and sawing in the garage, working to bring bacon, driving ridiculous distances to court. But my father would not get away with this.
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“You know, Marnie, he sure has a lot of books for a guy who can’t read.” Comprehension dawned on Marnie’s pink face. “Heeeeyy, yeah!” “And are there pictures in his books?” The grouchy face I knew so well announced that, no, there were no pictures in Dad’s smelly old books. She marched off toward the office. “Da-ad!” she announced, as though this were I Love Lucy and he had some ’splaining to do.
• Jack is the fourth and most displaced child. I heard that phrase once before. It makes me imagine us all playing in a too-full pool that spills Jack over the side. He is the youngest boy, with fat glasses and yellow hair like a broom. Naturally it was he who asked the question, one innocent family night. “Dad, who’s your favorite?” He looked at Jack as though he worried about his son’s IQ. “Your mother.” Mum beamed and Dad reached scandalously for her and we howled in disgust. Jack would not be derailed. “No, I mean which kid is your favorite?” He looked expectant. We had to offer our two-cents’ worth. “Frazier’s your favorite. Obviously. He’s the best behaved.” “It’s definitely not Calvin.” “Thanks, Jack.” “It’s Marnie! She’s the baby, and she has straight hair.” Dad nodded benevolently, then gestured for Jack to approach the throne. He whispered in Jack’s ear, and the broomhead grinned from ear to ear. “Wait, what?” cried Calvin. “What did you say?”
26 • Stance: Studies on the Family Dad waved his oldest boy over next. He grinned in the same silly way as Jack, knowing the evil fact and predicting the future moments when such knowledge would transform into useful leverage. I tried to act aloof, despite the burning curiosity I felt. Frazier was next, then the three-year-old, then me. Dad positively exuded intrigue as he whispered in my ear: “You’re my favorite. Don’t tell anyone else.”
• Her sons played together in the living room. Grandpa Roy sat in his easy chair with the paper. Dani stood in the kitchen. She saw the endless dishes. Felt the familiar dread, the four walls of home closing in. She pulled on her shoes. Dani glanced at her boys. “I’m going to get some milk, okay? I’ll be back soon.” She pushed the front door open and breathed in the air, electric with promise and fresh starts. My four-year-old father squabbled with his older brother Dean in the front room. Roy hushed them. The door closed quietly. They waited all afternoon. They waited all evening. At last, morning glared through the windows, brave enough to announce that Mom had lied.
• When I came home for Christmas at 20, Dad and I went on a lot of errands together. He would pump up the bass and tell DJ stories, mostly about chaperones who complained that the music was too loud, the lights were too dark, and there weren’t enough fast or slow songs. Dad was older than they in every instance. The complaints were to no avail. All at once, Dad sighed bitterly. “I don’t know. Marnie doesn’t like me much.” I looked over at him, noticing how much older he looked, the new flecks of salt in his inky hair, the permanent line of worry between his eyes. No mirth this time. No jokes. I shivered. “You take her to dances with you, though.”
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Dad nodded. “The school called. Apparently Marnie’s been bullying other girls.” He didn’t know any details. I slumped in my seat, confused and shot through with the unequivocal truth. How could I have been gone so long that Marnie and I were now polar opposites? “What are you going to do?” The worry line deepened, and I saw a man who teased his children relentlessly while the sun shone and lay awake in darkness, worrying, planning, hoping for those same kids. Perhaps my father struggled to laugh, struggled to make jokes. I felt suddenly exposed.
• Every female who has ever said to me, “Your dad . . .” has said it in the same tone, the kind of disbelief that accompanies escaped elephants who wander through malls or the Scoutmaster who roasts squirrels at the troop campout. My dad what? I always assume the lady in question either has no sense of humor, is way too sensitive, or could not recognize sarcasm if it danced naked in front of her. Understandably, my brother’s girlfriend could little appreciate her title as “Calvin’s Betrothed.” The ladies at church who found out Dad started the rumors that they’re getting rid of Sunday School may still be scandalized. The camp nurse’s daughter got a bee sting, an impossibly swollen face, and an eternal picture on Dad’s camera. Nana cried child abuse when she saw Dad feed me squash while I was strapped in my car seat, arms pinned, and covered with a dish towel. Mum probably drives her own car Sunday mornings so she won’t be forced to listen to Breakfast with the Beatles. My cousin April always tells me Uncle Paul is so mean. “Dads are supposed to tease,” I try to say soothingly. “It keeps our feet planted firmly in reality.” When her dad throws full-blown tantrums and makes threats in the presence of company, I say nothing. Should I? Am I a daughter or am I a fellow employee gossiping with the hens in the break room? April would never heal if I held up the truth about her dad around like some kind of hunting trophy.
28 • Stance: Studies on the Family I wish these women would just say “your dad is so smart” or “your dad sure makes me laugh” or “you sure are lucky to have a dad like that.” Lie to me, if you must.
• Mum called while I was studying one night. I was twenty-two. “How’s Marnie doing?” “Much better! Your dad has been working with her.” “Really?” I suddenly imagined Marnie hooked up to electrodes and gadgets in the office as Dad conducted tests. “How?” “Well, he gives that prickly girl lots of hugs, and he’s been telling her every day, ‘Willard girls are pretty, kind and smart.’” “Pretty kind? Pretty smart?” Mum laughed. “I know, right?”
• Barely Saturday morning, and I’d had it. Nothing had gone right, as usual. There was nothing to do in this isolated, miserable place. No friends to call, no outings to arrange. My teenage legs stomped up the stairs. My teenage hands slammed the cupboard doors as my teenage mouth complained that there was nothing to eat. My teenage face screwed up in angst as anyone approached. My father, the bravest man I know, cornered me by the microwave. My teenage scowl would have wilted the lilac tree creeping into the window. “What?” I demanded, brandishing him away like some obstinate steer. Dad wrapped me in his arms, squashing my face against his shoulder. I wriggled and groaned, arms pinned to my sides, trying to escape. Dad smelled like Old Spice and motor oil and hard work. Running out of air, I quit wriggling. We breathed there together in silence, in pajamas and the morning sun.
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He let go and carried on, wherever he was headed. Somehow, I couldn’t remember why I was supposed to be scowling.
• I’m married and long moved away. But even now, when we gather for Christmas dinner or a rowdy game of Pit, Jack poses his old question, looking expectant. Dad, full of intrigue as ever, beckons us all to him as he answers. And every time he whispers that I am his favorite, I have no doubt he’s telling the truth.
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A New Kind of Superhero: Gendered Representations in Young Avengers Andrew Darowski
n the summer of 2006, a number of awards were given to members of the entertainment and media communities in recognition of their work. Amongst those honored were comic book writer Allan Heinberg and artist Jim Cheung. The award given to Heinberg and Cheung recognized a comic that they had created together in the spring of 2005. That comic was called Young Avengers. The GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media award for Outstanding Comic Book was given to the Young Avengers for the same reasons it is given to other “creators and projects in mainstream media”—“for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community and the issues that affect their lives.”1 In 2010, Heinberg and Cheung again collaborated to tell a new story about the team that they helped develop five years earlier. Near the conclusion of this narrative, their work again became a topic of note, but this time the recognition was not all positive. Whereas the initial run of the title received little to no negative response, some events in the 2010 storyline garnered some unfavorable attention. After Wiccan and Hulkling, two of the original members of the team, shared one of the first male-male on-panel kisses2 in Marvel Comics,3 members of both the pro- and anti-gay communities forcefully responded to the comic via the internet. 31
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Social Issues The inclusion of a gay couple in their comic was not the only way in which Heinberg and Cheung commented on social issues with their work. From the beginning, Young Avengers was extremely open about the fact that these were not the traditional WASP (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant)-ish heroes of previous decades. The structure of the team was meant to hark back to the original Avengers, but there are few similarities. The teenaged team was originally made up of four boys, styled after Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk, and Thor. Within the first storyline, two teenage girls were added, followed by a fifth boy. These three were patterned after the Avengers Hawkeye, Ant-Man, and Quicksilver, respectively.4 The comic rapidly became a critical success, conscientiously dealing with topics that had not,5 and, in some cases, could not have been dealt with conveniently even a few years earlier. After the initial storyline was completed, the series ended. Unlike most popular comics, the title was not handed over to a new creative team to continue the adventures of the characters. The Young Avengers team was included in a handful of large, company-wide, crossover events. But these mini-series publications were definitively understood to be temporary and did not explore the social issues that had been elemental in the original run. When the original creators returned in 2010, they completed the story arc they had begun half a decade earlier. This time, the comic expressed an even stronger social message than before (ACC, see endnote 2). After the completion of this second storyline, the characters split up; recently, a new ongoing comic series featuring a team of new Young Avengers has begun.6 The Young Avengers comic is unique in no small part because of the way it dealt with issues that were emerging in the public discourse and topics that were fairly new to mainstream comics like Marvel. Race and gender received particular treatment and special care in the hands of the various creative minds that have worked with the Young Avengers characters over the years. Homosexuality has received profound consideration in the pages of these comics. These issues have not been exclusively discussed within the storylines, but they have been a major issue surrounding the public opinion and critique of the comics. Largely, the response to the portrayals of these social issues in a modern setting has been positive.7
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They Say, I Say While a specific scholarly analysis of the Young Avengers has not been attempted, many scholars have written about gender representations of superheroes.8 Many have dealt with the idea that women are often portrayed in comic books as overly sexualized, while some have lauded the fact that many female superheroes are not shown to be trapped in traditional feminine stereotypes.9 Within the Young Avengers, the latter seems to be especially true, while the former does not. But in examining the comic, new elements also emerge, including the portrayal of homosexual characters in superhero comics, and the stereotypes that are applied to them. While the women of Young Avengers have been portrayed as strong and aggressive, the two gay men each have notable stories regarding their heritage and origins which feature them actively avoiding combat and attempting to dissuade warring parties from using violence. In this essay, I will be discussing the representations of male, female, and homosexual characters in the Young Avengers, with particular attention given to the comics written by the original creators. I will also use contemporary critiques and reviews of the comics to help illustrate the near-immediate effect that the comic had on the fan community. In general, the series was well received. The execution of storytelling and artwork was never debated. The use of controversial topics, however, was a particular point of interest. Most responses, both critically- and fan-generated, were positive. A notable exception includes the hyper-conservative, media-targeting group One Million Moms, who regularly call for boycotts of media that deal with topics such as same-sex relationships. Through the sources mentioned above, many developments in the portrayals of gender have been made over the years. Not only are traditional stereotypes often avoided, but also the current temperament of fans calls for special care when dealing with homosexual characters and same-sex couples. In dealing with issues of gender and homosexuality in this paper, I will be using the common terms as used by scholars, such as Judith Butler.10 However, the argument will be adapted in this paper, as this paper does not deal so much with real-world examples, but rather faces popular conception and fictional constructions of gender and sexuality issues. The characters are fictional and therefore do not have to follow the patterns of the real world.11 They usually, however, follow the patterns somewhat closely, as they have been developed by creators who often have real
34 • Stance: Studies on the Family world experience with the topics. For example, the original writer, Allan Heinberg, is openly gay and has spoken about how that influences his portrayal of the characters.12
The Heroes When the adventures of the Young Avengers originally began, the team was all male (YA2005, 1). As stated earlier, the individual teen heroes were patterning themselves after established counterparts. When the creators made this decision, it was deliberate, with the purpose of ultimately introducing aspects of the characters that would reflect a changing world and an evolving idea of normality. Patriot (Eli Bradley), the counterpart to Captain American, is African-American; Hulk’s doppelganger, Hulkling (Teddy Altman), is a gay, white, male, as is Wiccan (Billy Kaplan— originally known as Asgardian), who was patterned after Thor. Iron Lad (Nathaniel Richards) is something of an exception to these socially relevant revelations, as he is a white, heterosexual, male time-traveler. His character is the driving force behind the first storyline and is most closely tied to references to other comics in the Marvel Universe. When the two female characters are added within the first few issues, they also choose to become heroes, paying homage to established male counterparts. Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) is the only one to use the same name as the hero she emulates, while Stature (Cassie Lang) references multiple heroes, including two who used the name Ant-Man (her father was the second hero to use that title, the first was Hank Pym, who also went by the names Giant-Man and Goliath). Towards the end of the first collected volume, Wiccan’s twin brother (Tommy Shepherd) joins the team and calls himself Speed, referencing the super-fast Quicksilver. Around the same time, Iron Lad departs, leaving his suit of armor to fill his spot on the team. The armor becomes Vision (who calls his civilian identity Jonas), having been partially constructed with parts from the android that originally bore that name. Since the new ongoing series has begun, another female character, Miss America, has been introduced to replace Patriot, who chose to retire (ACC, issue 9, page 12). Miss America is apparently a Hispanic teen from an alternate reality, similar to the one in which the story takes place. (YA2013, Issue 1). Her racial representation as Hispanic introduces a new dynamic, as she is the first non-white female to join the team, and is the
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second non-white character to be an analog for the blond-haired, blueeyed, white Captain America. In short, all of the main team members, including the females, are created with direct reference to male heroes who would be reasonably familiar to many comic book readers. A single partial exception to this comes in the form of Thor’s counterpart, originally called Asgardian, who changes his name to Wiccan because he believes that his powers are derived from his mother, an Avenger called Scarlet Witch. Billy Kaplan—an openly gay, Jewish young man—is the only character in the series with strong reference to a female superhero (YA2005).
Male Validation of Female Heroes Out of the three female team members 100 percent of them are in favor of referencing male heroes as their exemplars. Two of these women do not feel comfortable in their roles as superheroes until they receive verbal acknowledgment of their potential from Captain America and Iron Man (YA2005, issue 3, page 10, and YA2005, issue 12, page 17). In the case of Kate Bishop, Captain America bestows her identity as a superhero upon her when she and her teammates had been unable to select an appropriate name. He is the one who chooses to call her Hawkeye after a deceased friend of his, as a form of acceptance. The male members of the team did not require such acceptance and were fully prepared to act as heroes, with names they chose, in defiance of any opposition. The female characters do not become superheroes in the same manner that male characters do. In accordance with evidence found in several studies that have been conducted in the field of gender studies and superheroes, female heroes are required to prove themselves as being worthy of their roles on the team.13 In the case of Hawkeye, this theme has been recurring in her development. Captain America allowed her to use the bow and arrows originally used by Hawkeye. The original Hawkeye was dead at the time. Later, after he was brought back to life, Kate Bishop met with him to discuss the use of his secret identity.14 The original Hawkeye (Clint Barton) had been using the codename Ronin since returning to the Avengers. Clint told Kate that she could continue to use the codename if she earned it, by demonstrating that she had the skill and attributes necessary as he deemed fit. She did so and has operated with the codename since. This deference to male authority is not unlike the practice of women taking the surnames of their husbands. Despite the generally strong representation of women
36 • Stance: Studies on the Family in the comic book, there are still patriarchal hoops to jump through for these heroines. Kate’s example is particularly similar to the examples used in Julie O’Reilly’s “The Wonder Woman Precedent,” because she had to prove that she deserved to use the name and weaponry of another hero. This point is reiterated several times as the story moves on. This repetition of the trial follows the patterns of other characters that O’Reilly’s essay describes. Stature is the only other female member of the team consistently in the published material. Her pursuit of approval did not follow a path exactly like Hawkeye’s but can nonetheless still illustrate the trope of female superheroes not being able to move ahead on their own. Prior to joining the Young Avengers, Cassie (Stature) had intended to join another team of young superheroes in California. She changed her mind and approached the Young Avengers, who were hesitant, since she could not display any powers.15 Despite being the daughter of Ant-Man (not the original AntMan, but his successor), she had not, up to that point, exhibited any of the abilities of her father. Her powers did eventually manifest in front of the other members of the team, as well as several of the adult team of Avengers (YA2005, issue 2, page 22). This revelation led to an invitation for her to join the team. Later on, she left the team to join a larger, government-sanctioned group of Avengersin-training.16 This group persisted for some time, but when this group disbanded, she was able to return to the Young Avengers. Prior to her death, she was able to see her father return to life and reconcile her identity as a superhero with him (ACC, issue 5, page 14). While she was never ever able to experience the type of mentor-student relationship shared by the two Hawkeyes, Cassie’s reconciliation with her father carried significant weight in the story. Since her motivation to become a superhero was directly inspired by her father (and partially by his death), the chance to receive his approval, even briefly, was more important than approval from any other hero. This moment not only reconciled her role as a hero, but also gave her closure on a father-daughter level, which is especially uncommon in stories that push families to the periphery. Both Kate and Cassie demonstrate a need for acceptance that is not found in the other members of the team. Most of the other team members have neither a desire for, nor a dependence on, the reconciliation that
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the female superheroes require. In some cases, the male team members are involved in storylines that deal with the opportunity for an acceptance similar to the female team members, but these exceptions illustrate the fact that the males are able to move ahead without any kind of dependence on this attempted resolution. Clearly there is something of a double standard represented by strong and aggressive female characters who are vulnerable when it comes to their personal motivations, and male characters with no motivational qualms, but more defensive powers and emotionally vulnerable storylines.
The Search for a Mentor Figure One attempt and failure at resolution involves Hulkling. In previous storylines, this character is explained to be the hybrid son of two alien races who have been at constant war. Captain Marvel (Teddy’s father and an Avenger himself ) is a member of the alien race known as Kree. Teddy’s mother was a princess of the Kree opponents known as the Skrulls. Both his father and mother are dead when he joins the Young Avengers, and his heritage is not a factor in his choice to become a superhero. In fact, Teddy’s parentage is not made known until a later storyline, during which both alien races attempt to retrieve him from earth (YA2005, issues 9–12). Hulkling chose to pattern his name after a hero (the Hulk) with whom he has no connection whatsoever. In this way he is similar to the other male members of the team, with no need of any kind of acknowledgement to become a superhero. He did, however, eventually attempt to create a bond with his father. Captain Marvel came back to life (incidentally creating a parallel with the stories of Kate and Cassie, who also saw their mentor/father figure/superhero connection come back to life and were able to petition for reconciliation). Hulkling approached Captain Marvel to discuss whether or not he was indeed his father, and if so, whether there was anything Captain Marvel intended to do about it. Captain Marvel explained that it was possible that he was Hulkling’s father, but he did not know for sure, and was not aware of the Skrull princess having a child after their romantic encounter. Ultimately, this interaction did not solve any of Hulkling’s problems, and he never saw Captain Marvel alive again.17 Hulkling’s attempt to reconcile himself with his father was unsuccessful on several levels. Hulkling left the
38 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family encounter worse off than he had come, as far as finding acceptance and acknowledgment of his role as a superhero and as a son.
Overmasculined Superheroines The search for a mentor figure and acceptance is not the only way in which the female Young Avengers follow stereotypical patterns associated with female superheroes. One feature of superheroines, at least according to some researchers,18 is the tendency for them to be overly masculinized in order to prevent them from being overly feminized. All three of the female characters in the Young Avengers exhibit this quality to some degree, which is especially noticeable when they are compared with the male team members, in particular the team members that the heroines have deeper relationships with. Stature is depicted as romantically involved with Vision. During some storylines in which they work together as a duo, their powers come into a sharp juxtaposition. Her ability to grow to enormous sizes gives her a tremendous physical advantage in combat. She is able to accomplish feats such as catching cars, disabling helicopters by clapping, and withstanding attacks from powerful weapons. In addition to these powers, she has some level of combat training, which allows her to function effectively as a superhero even when her powers are inhibited. On the other hand, Vision has a range of powers based in the technology from which his android form is constructed. These powers include, but are not limited to, the ability to become invisible, the power to look like another person, and the power to modify his molecular density (which is most commonly used to pass through solid objects and avoid being struck by weapons). There is a notable disparity between the offensive capabilities of these two characters, which becomes even more apparent in one particular scene when they are both unable to use the majority of their powers to fight several members of a terrorist organization. In this instance, though Vision is shown to be of some use, he is physically standing behind Stature and only has the use of one arm. Stature, however, is effective during the fight and even initiates the first blow.19 Overall, this situation could be considered emblematic of other occasions where the female characters act more aggressively and achieve greater results than the males.
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Hawkeye also demonstrates similar aggressive superiority. Her most common counterpart is Patriot, due to their romantic tension in the narrative (but she also interacts with Speed on occasion). An example of her offensive nature compared with his defensive nature comes from their chosen weapons. Patriot uses a shield. In some of the earlier stories, he also makes use of five-pointed throwing stars, but these quickly fall by the wayside. Hawkeye regularly wields a bow and arrows, the most damaging and potentially deadly offensive weapon used by any of the team. She has also used a sword and frequently carries batons, although the batons have not been a common feature of her combat style. In one of the earlier stories, she even used one of Patriotâ€™s throwing stars as a knife while being held hostage. Kate is the only member of the team who uses projectiles for long-distance attacks. Although others are capable of attacking from a distance, these are usually energy-based attacks and are most likely not capable of the same kind of damage as the arrows. Additionally, in a storyline that shows Kate and Patriot on a date, they are attacked and he is incapacitated, while she continues to fight. This storyline illustrates her capability for greater aggressive response than Patriot. In the same issue, comments are made that indicate her role on the team as a leader, later corroborated by a comment made by Patriot.20 This situation is intriguing: since she was one of the last members of the team to join, she had no prior connection to any superhero, and she possessed no superpowers. The latter two facts in particular make her unique; all other members of the team had a prior connection to a member of the Avengers (albeit, in some cases the connection was unknown at the time the team was formed) and have some form of superpowers. It is unclear what Kate possesses that would situate her in the position of highest leadership. The only other female character to be part of the Young Avengers is Miss America. Little is known about her up to this point. However, her generally aggressive attitude is clearly depicted in the few pages she has graced (YA2013, issue 1). At the very least, her powers seem to include super-strength. Aside from a power that could be used in ways both offensive and defensive, there is little to say about her, except that she has used the power in mostly aggressive ways. In some ways, her presence can be viewed as one-note: she is the bruiser. However, as she has minimal backstory to explain her attitudes, she could be viewed as a wild card and her character could develop in a number of ways in future issues.
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Ironic Portrayals of Female Superheroes An irony in this portrayal of female superheroes comes from the psychological reliance and deference to the men on whom their personas are based, contrasted with the fact that all three of the female Young Avengers have aggressive and offensively beneficial powers and attitudes. Hawkeye wields a bow and arrow, the most damaging and potentially deadly offensive weapon used by any of the team. Stature is able to grow several stories tall, giving her proportional strength and protection from harm. Miss America has not been fully explored yet, but abnormal strength has been evident in the few panels she has appeared in. On the other hand, the men possess a shield, the ability to become intangible and walk through solid objects, magic spells that are activated by “wishing on stuff really hard” (ACC, issue 4, page 1), shape-shifting combined with super-strength, and super-speed, which is mostly used for reconnaissance and disarming. The powers of magic wielding and shape-shifting, which allow a broader range of potentially offensive maneuvers, are in the possession of the gay heroes, who, as will be explored later on, are more inclined to prevent fighting and to stop it peacefully than they are to participate in actual combat.
The Lack of Sexual Exploitation: Breaking Tradition One way in which the Young Avengers breaks away from a traditional feature of female superheroes is a lack of sexual exploitation. This exploitation typically involves the overly accentuated breasts and buttocks that female comic book characters are often depicted with, as well as unusual poses or angles that heavily feature these aspects, and the exposure of a great deal of skin, including cleavage. In contrast, the women of the Young Avengers are largely covered, drawn with reasonable proportions, and shown from angles that seem to generally align with what is used for the men. Sexual exploitation does not seem to be as common in the Young Avengers as in other comics. Stature is covered completely from her neck down. While Hawkeye does have an exposed midriff and one arm and shoulder uncovered, she also wears full-length pants and does not have exposed cleavage. Miss America wears a t-shirt
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with a jacket over it and a pair of shorts. The shorts do reveal much of her legs, but they reflect a clothing choice common among competitive female athletes, and not unusual for casually-dressed women in general.
The Portrayal of Homosexual Characters A majority of the gender-theory studies that have observed that portrayals of characters have focused only on the representation of female characters compared with male characters. As Judith Butler states, “gender is constructed . . . inscribed on anatomically differentiated bodies.”21 Young Avengers is something of an unusual comic book, in that it prominently features two gay characters. Within all of the Marvel titles, there are only a handful of superheroes who are confirmed and openly homosexual. Of these, Hulkling and Wiccan are perhaps the best known, in part because of the media attention that has been given to their relationship. Several articles have addressed them and their relationship over the years, and recently it has received even more consideration. One reason for the particular attention to Wiccan and Hulkling’s relationship could be the award received by the Young Avengers series during its initial run, the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book. More recently the inclusion of a nearly full-page image of Hulkling and Wiccan kissing also drew attention, and it was not all positive. Most readers were very complimentary about the boldness to publish this comic, while some others called for boycotts. The negative responses seemed most vocal from the group One Million Moms. Although most comic books are bought by men and women in their late teens and early twenties, the maternally monikered group was calling for action to be taken by parents of readers more that the readers themselves. Many articles have been published online that deal with the nature of Hulkling and Wiccan’s relationship,22 both in a positive and negative light. Young Avengers has consistently featured gay characters and is one of the few comics that does. In addition to having Wiccan and Hulkling as regular characters, other homosexual characters have made appearances. One of the two other most notable gay couples in the Marvel Universe was featured, although a bit obliquely, in the Children’s Crusade storyline (ACC, issues 6 and 7), which is focused on Wiccan and Speed’s search for their missing mother. Rictor and Shatterstar were identified by one article as the
42 • Stance: Studies on the Family first gay couple (composed of characters with names) to share an on-panel kiss in Marvel comics. They made an appearance towards the end of the Children’s Crusade storyline, but Rictor played a very important role in the narrative. Marvel’s first gay superhero, Northstar,23 has not appeared in the Young Avengers comics, but in a recent issue of the current storyline (YA2013, issue 3), Miss America was confronted by what appeared to be her mothers. It has not been overtly stated that she was raised by a lesbian couple, or that the two women are in a romantic relationship, but the nature of the storyline implies that they are her parents, and the fact that Young Avengers has been very open about featuring homosexual characters makes it probable that this is the case. As Young Avengers has been established as a comic book that is willing to represent homosexual characters, more specifically gay characters rather than lesbian, it is a good candidate for analysis regarding the portrayals of such characters in the comic book medium and the superhero genre. I will attempt to largely follow the pattern that has been established when analyzing the female characters.
Male Gay Characters Where the female characters had to deal with the need for a mentor and acceptance in their role as superheroes, the male characters did not. This holds true for Wiccan and Hulkling. However, both Wiccan and Hulkling were the lead characters in storylines that dealt with them finding out about their heritage and connection to the larger Marvel Universe. Hulkling’s story focused on a battle between two alien races over whose throne he would inherit. Wiccan led the team and other characters on a search for his mother. Intriguingly, where the female characters were required to physically prove that they deserved to have a connection with other superheroes, Wiccan and Hulkling had connections to heroes that they did not know about when they first donned their costumes. Wiccan and Hulkling did not have to physically prove anything. A great deal of fighting occurred during the storylines that focused on them, and in each respective case, Hulkling and Wiccan tried to prevent the fighting and peacefully end it.24 This representation is a complete contrast from the female characters, who are shown to be aggressive in a way that is, perhaps, compensatory for femininity. The gay characters, while not passive by
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any means, attempt to be actively peaceful, at least in the stories that feature them most prominently. This choice is also a feature of how these two use their powers. Both have a capability for offensive and defensive maneuvers. Wiccan can use his magic in many different ways, but seems to use it most often to fly, to teleport, and to block attacks. Hulkling can shape-shift and has super-strength, but he is not notably violent with his strength, although he has demonstrated that he can do significant damage when he chooses to. Another intriguing counterpoint to their peaceful attitudes comes from the Avengers they were originally patterned after. Hulkling was an obvious double for the Hulk, known for his uncontrollable rage and physical strength. Wiccan, who was originally called Asgardian, was a counterpart to Thor, who possesses tremendous strength and has a reputation for enjoying battle. These two original Avengers were arguably the largest and strongest on the team. They are re-modeled into characters that embody a desire for peaceful resolutions. Perhaps this representation is some kind of reverse of the examples given of female characters displaying more aggression than other characters as a way to distinguish them from a traditional female stereotype. If that is the case, then the representation of the two gay characters included a greater nonaggression, perhaps as a way to show that they do not follow the violently aggressive patterns of the male characters that they initially represented.
Conclusion Gender-role stereotyping is most likely not something that will ever become completely avoidable. In one way or another, people will use traits that are viewed as common to a certain gender (or race or religion for that matter) to portray characters as long as stories are told. Within American superhero comics, there are tropes and patterns used in the depictions of characters. The Young Avengers comic is no exception. Many of the patterns associated with female superheroes hold true. The comic is unique, however, in that it openly portrays gay characters. Assuming that these characters can act as a cross-section for the entirety of gay superheroes in comic books, then certain assumptions can be made based on the same methods used to analyze female superhero stereotypes. While
44 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family the future of gender representations in superhero comics is unclear, the Young Avengers will mostly likely be used as a stepping-stone for further exploration of controversial topics. The characters themselves may be used as poster children for the issues, but that will be far from the end of it. Representations of gay heroes will most likely be a strong part of any Young Avengers series published by Marvel, but it will not be the only comic to feature the topic. Likewise, exploration of the female superhero type will occur elsewhere. In both cases, it is likely that reader-response will lean towards stronger, independent women and heroes comfortable with all types of sexuality.
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Endnotes 1. Kevin Melrose, “Young Avengers wins GLAAD award,” June 16, 2006, blog.newsarama.com/2006/06/16/ young-avengers-wins-glaad-award. 2. Allan Heinberg (Writer) and Jim Cheung (Penciler), Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (Marvel Comics, 2012), Issue 9: Page 18. Further references to Avengers: The Children’s Crusade will be cited in text (ACC). 3. “Marvel Comics’ Rictor and Shatterstar Kiss!” July 1, 2009, www. glaad.org/2009/07/01/marvel-comics-rictor-and-shatterstar-kiss. 4. Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung (Creators), Young Avengers (Marvel Comics, 2008). Further references to Young Avengers will be cited in text (YA2005). 5. “The Comics Code Authority,” accessed April 20, 2013, www.comicartville.com/comicscode.htm. 6. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, Young Avengers (Marvel Comics, 2013). Further references to Young Avengers will be cited in text (YA2013). 7. “She Has No Head!—Why ‘Young Avengers’ is the Future of Superhero Comics,” accessed April 18, 2013, goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2013/01/28/ she-has-no-head-why-young-avengers-is-the-future-of-comics. 8. Victoria Ingalls, “Sex differences in the creation of fictional heroes with particular emphasis on female heroes and superheroes in popular culture: Insights from evolutionary psychology,” Review of General Psychology 16, no. 2 ( June 2012): 208–221. PsycARTICLES, EBSCOhost (accessed March 25, 2013). Julie D O’Reilly, “The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super) Heroism on Trial,” Journal of American Culture 28, no. 3: 273–283. America: History and Life with Full Text, EBSCOhost (accessed March 25, 2013).
46 • Stance: Studies on the Family 9. Kaysee Baker and Arthur A. Raney, “Equally Super?: Gender-Role Stereotyping of Superheroes in Children’s Animated Programs,” Mass Communication & Society 10, no. 1 (2007): 28. Print. 10. Judith Butler, Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, retrieved from Class Readings. 11. For the sake of the paper, I will ignore issues that could come into play, such as alien genetics and biology. Characters will be treated as human. 12. 2011 “Allan Heinberg—The Gay Times Interview,” Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors, last modified February 24, 2011, accessed March 25 2013, http://www.bleedingcool.com/2011/02/24/allan-heinberg-the-gay-times-interview. 13. O’Reilly, “The Wonder Woman Precedent.” 14. Matt Fraction and Alan Davis, “Hawkeye” Young Avengers Presents (Marvel Comics, 2008). 15. Alan Heinberg, Young Avengers Special (Marvel Comics, 2008) 8. 16. Paul Cornell and Mark Brooks, “Vision” Young Avengers Presents (Marvel Comics, 2008). 17. Brian Reed and Harvey Tolibao, “Hulkling” Young Avengers Presents (Marvel Comics, 2008). 18. Baker and Raney, “Equally Super?” and Ingalls, “Sex Differences.” 19. Cornell and Brooks, “Vision.” 20. Fraction and Davis, “Hawkeye” and (ACC, issue 2, page 12). 21. Butler, Gender Trouble, 8. 22. Lauren J. Walter, “Gay comic book characters upset conservative group One Million Moms,” May 31, 2012, www.examiner.com/article/gay-comic-book-characters-upset-one-million-moms.
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Andrew Wheeler, “At Last: Hulkling & Wiccan Share First Kiss in ‘Young Avengers’: The Children’s Crusade’ #9,” www.comicsalliance. com/2012/03/08/hulkling-wiccan-first-kiss-young-avengers. 23. advojohnathan, “Marvel Comics’ Rictor and Shatterstar Kiss!,” July 1, 2009, http://www.glaad.org/2009/07/01/ marvel-comics-rictor-and-shatterstar-kiss. 24. Hulkling’s storyline can be found in YA2005, Issues 9–12. Wiccan’s can be found in ACC issues 1–9.
48 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family
The Truth Ethan Marston
My name is Ethan Marston, and I’m a nutritional science major from Illinois, but I plan on making a career out of my writing and rhetoric minor. I am engaged to be married in the Ogden Temple in December. I wrote “The Truth” for my creative writing class, but I chose the topic so I could share it with Stance. It’s about how I felt when I struggled to let people into my life— to tell the truth about what I was really going through. I thought it would be useful for people who don’t know what it’s like to experience same-sex attraction (or something similar), as it is an issue that’s affecting many families to some degree. I also wanted to show people that I felt that way and I’m in a better place now. It’s perfectly normal to grapple with the big questions. I’ve done that, and now I’m much better off for it. We need to teach our children how to deal with tough questions like this one, and to trust us enough to let their true feelings show.
50 • Stance: Studies on the Family Why does my heart betray my mind, oh God? How can I bear this treachery of soul— This longing for a man to make me whole? When expectations leave me feeling flawed, I wonder if continuing is fraud. I strive and strain to live that manly role, But I despair despite all self-control. O! Will I fly or die sans this façade? My God, is there no buoyant hope for me? I can’t believe you’d send me here in shoes Fit not to dance, but flounder gracelessly. Despite despair I’ll use my agency To spurn the one whose scheme is to confuse, And trust these words: the truth shall make you free.
The Return Home and the Quest for Self-Identity Catherine Ann Hollingsworth
This article explores the idea of homecoming of heroes in Modernist texts of Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and James Joyce’s A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. Jim, a fallen hero, was a sailor who abandoned ship, leaving hundreds of people to perish in the sea. Although the ship did not sink and the people lived, Jim was disgraced after his trial. Later, he goes to an island, rather than returning home, to pursue his fatal quest of being heroic. In Joyce’s works, we see Stephen Daedalus as a young man in A Portrait and as an adult in Ulysses. As he struggles with his identity and his decision to leave his home, we see how he is affected by his return home years later.
pic heroes shape their identity through the tests and the trials from the gods, their own mistakes, and the choices of others. After infuriating King Minos and being imprisoned within the labyrinth on the island Crete, Daedalus desired to escape with his son, Icarus, by crafting wings to fly like birds across the sea. Why would they commit to such a dangerous journey? They desired to return back to their home in Sicily. In another classical tale, the great hero Odysseus was away from Ithaca—his home—while at battle in Troy. After the battle ended, he strove to return to his his home for ten years. After Odysseus experienced temptations, he sought for “his identity as a man, not as a hero” (Breyfogle 16). These heroes were not gods. They were men: human and fallible. In the end, these epic heroes eventually left their adventures 51
52 • Stance: Studies on the Family to return to their homes as new men because “the adventure of the hero” is “the adventure of being alive” (The Power of Myth . . . 163). Home, where all humans begin, also shapes a hero’s identity. But a hero leaves home, and the trials that occur before returning home test the hero’s identity. And the hero’s homecoming is the ultimate recognition of who the hero has become. In Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim and James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, both Jim and Stephen see themselves as heroes, like those in Greek and Roman mythology, but their adventures are set during the Modernist era. Critics provide various perspectives regarding the analysis of these two texts, ranging from psychoanalysis to biographical reflections. When reading literary criticism, discussions of moralism and romanticism in Lord Jim and nationality and imperialism in Joyce’s writings are bound to come up; however, there has been little interpretation regarding Jim’s immediate family and comparing the construction of heroic self-identity of the characters, Jim and Stephen. While scholarly opinions concerning these topics of discussion are undoubtedly imperative for interpretation, the additional analysis of focusing on the shaping of identity and the influence of the family on modern heroes enables the reader to better understand the Modernist era. This paper focuses on uncovering the significance of how familial relationships shape the identity of modern heroes. Where and to whom a person is born begins the initiation of the hero’s journey to self-realization. Because Stephen and Jim both identify themselves as heroes, several influences affect the construction of their identity in the Modernist era within the confines of the home. Their personal identities ultimately become juxtaposed, implying the significance of home and homecoming for the hero in the Modernist era.
Identity of Children and Adolescents Both Stephen and Jim internalized their personal experiences from their childhood, shaping their identities into adulthood. The hero’s identity motivates who the hero becomes as well as what his actions are. Many psychological research projects have sought to produce insight about how children and adolescents construct their identity. Specifically, researchers have found that several factors influence the way children see themselves: the creation of personal identity occurs when “the self is taken to comprise
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both personal and social identity, and neither is seen as more fundamental or authentic than the other” (Sani and Bennett 503). Some researchers have come to the conclusion that “relationship experiences with primary caregivers in childhood are internalized and carried forward into adulthood” (Roismann et al. 787). As we analyze how these characters identify themselves as children and adolescents, we will gain great insight into who they are as heroes. In literature, Bildungsroman novels are about the “development of the protagonist’s mind and character, in the passage from childhood through varied experiences . . . into maturity, which usually involves recognition of one’s identity and role in the world” (Abrams 194, emphasis added). A Portrait would fall under this definition, specifically a Künstlerroman (“artist-novel”), but Ian Watt argues that “Lord Jim is not a Bildungsroman” because “Conrad’s portrayal . . . does not show any large transformation of Jim’s character” (Watt 59). Stephen’s journey to self-realization is not a smooth path either, as Stephen, who “is far from being a godlike hero . . . grope[s] painfully toward some understanding of himself and his place in the world” (Waith 77) because “the Bildungsroman often depicts the protagonist involved in an oscillatory movement between poles of experience” (Thorton 89). Essentially, Stephen and Jim both oscillate between highs and lows during their experiences, like real life. Despite their imperfections as heroes, Jim and Stephen internalized experiences they had while they were children, that eventually shape their identities and impact who they become.
Books and Identity The experiences heroes have with books helped to construct an identity in their childhood. The very beginning of A Portrait introduces the reader to Stephen who narrates a story his father told him as a small boy. One scholar argues, “Stephen looks first to his father to provide his identity and his values” (Harkness 54). As Joyce introduces his character, he “traces through baby tuckoo and father, before finally establishing a link between the name baby tuckoo and Stephen’s identity” (Smith 44). The folk tales Stephen’s father tells as bedtime stories contribute to shaping Stephen’s identity later in life as a creative individual—an artist. The playful lilt of the rhythm and spirited use of words within these stories could be the spark of creativity that would inspire Stephen’s writings.
54 • Stance: Studies on the Family While Stephen’s father “tells him a story and is associated with the art of the word” (Empric 19), Stephen’s mother “introduces the internal, personal, sensual, and affective world” (19). Although the emotions, which are reflected in his mother’s creativity, later seem to dominate Stephen’s perception of the world and his identity as an artist, his father’s words shape Stephen’s identity as a writer. As a teenager, Stephen strains his relationship with his parents when he tries to break away and become an individual, but Stephen internalized these experiences he had with his parents as a child, carrying these memories into adulthood. Jim, like Stephen, shaped his identity from childhood books. Jim “originally . . . came from a parsonage,” whose father “possessed such certain knowledge of the Unknowable” (Conrad 8). Jim, who “was one of five sons,” needed to find a new source for a living, but he enjoyed “a course of light holiday literature” (8). He choose the life of a seaman in order to be “an example of devotion to duty, and as unflinching as a hero in a book” (9). Of course, “[ Jim’s] choice of the merchant marine as a career (like Conrad’s own) is the result of ‘a course of light holiday reading’ in adventure stories” (Drew 17), which inevitably leads to his eventual downfall. Perhaps light literature provided an escape from the harsh realities of home life for young Jim, since he came from a demanding family life with high expectations. Because of Jim’s experiences with reading adventure books as a child, Jim’s identity was shaped by unrealistic expectations of what it meant to be a hero. For the rest of Jim’s life, Jim would endeavor to live up to his family’s high morals, thus attempting to shape an identity that would be highly improbable to uphold after he had fallen. Additionally, Jim’s simplistic idealism of himself as a hero enables Conrad to portray his protagonist as if in perpetual boyhood. In a study conducted by Pasupathi and Hoyt, they claimed that “having responsive, attentive friends as listeners for conversational storytelling helps further narrative identity development in late adolescence and early adulthood” (558). These two researchers emphasize the importance of friends in their study; however, parents, family members, or other adults could and should be included, as well. In Stephen’s experience, we see how he has relationships with other characters. There are several similarities between the relationships of Conrad with Stephen Crane and Marlow with Jim, such as “Crane (like Jim) was the blue-eyed son of a Methodist pastor, one of a large family of boys” and “the age-difference between Crane
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and Conrad resembles that between Jim and Marlow” (Batchelor 73). These relationships shape how the heroes see themselves and develop as the novel progresses.
Friends Shaping the Identities of Heroes Cranly, one of Stephen’s close friends, tries to help Stephen develop his personal identity by discussing Stephen’s family problems. While Stephen was out of school for a time earlier in the novel, he “went into his mother’s bedroom and gazed at his face for a long time in the mirror of her dressing table” (A Portrait . . . 62). Stephen stared at his reflection, which symbolizes his desire to determine who he is. He goes to the room of his mother, who he gets along with better than his father, since Stephen still lives at home. Although his family and his nation have undoubtedly shaped Stephen’s self-recognition, he still has doubts about himself. This time is a critical for Stephen because he must choose what path he will take—one of individualism or one of nationalism. Stephen turns to his friend, Cranly, to help him come to terms with the identity he has chosen for himself. Cranly is a true friend, one who listens to Stephen’s development of his identity and “seems genuinely to care about Stephen’s familial and personal conflicts” (Harkness 105). Stephen is struggling with his identity in the end of A Portrait, and Cranly sympathizes, carefully preparing his questions with “I don’t want to pry into your family affairs” (A Portrait . . . 212) before asking Stephen questions about his father’s occupation and his mother’s past. Then Cranly forwardly asks, “I ask you if you ever felt love towards anyone or anything” (212) before launching into his ideas about “a mother’s love” (216). Cranly offers his advice about family relationships and religious piety, but more importantly, Cranly listens to Stephen, which helps Stephen shape his identity—at this point of his life. Stephen’s self-realization consists of freedom and isolation from the influence of others. Marlow becomes a friend for Jim as well as a parental figure, thus contributing to how Jim shapes his personal identity. Near the beginning of the book, the Patna scandal (when he abandoned ship, leaving hundreds of people to die) is told to Marlow from Jim’s perspective. However, before he tells what happened from his perspective, Jim talks
56 • Stance: Studies on the Family quite a bit about his family and father, or “the good old rural dean [who] was about the finest man that ever had been worried by the cares of a large family since the beginning of the world” (Conrad 51). Because Jim feels that he can only disclose the Patna affair to Marlow, Jim states over and over again that his father “has seen it all in the home papers by this time,” and Jim could “never face the poor old chap” because “[his father] wouldn’t understand” (Conrad 51). Jim “followed the advice of such father figures as Marlow” (Gose 17) because Marlow, unlike Jim’s father, could listen to Jim’s predicament. Additionally, Marlow felt the connection between Jim and himself because Marlow “is drawn to Jim . . . by the strength of ‘the feeling that binds a man to a child’” (Thorburn 130). Marlow listens to Jim’s problems on the Patna in addition to recognizing Jim’s problems with his father. As a result, Jim shapes his identity by narrating his experience through his conversation with Marlow instead of his father. Additionally, Doramin, his wife, and Dain Waris could be seen as an adoptive family for Jim, but they are not his real family. After arranging a new path for Jim in Patusan, Marlow repeats more than three times the idea of going home. Marlow states that he “was going home—to that home distant enough for all its hearthstones to be like one hearthstone, by which the humblest of us has the right to sit” (Conrad 134). Marlow recognizes that “for each of us going home must be like going to render an account. We return to face our superiors, our kindred, our friends—those whom we obey, and those whom we love” (Conrad 134). But in this instance, we does not include Jim; he is not one of us because he feels that he cannot go home.
Searching for a Place in the World Modern heroes are wrought with the dilemma of searching for their place in the world. When they were young, Stephen and Jim took the heroic ideals introduced to them as children and desired to fulfill their identities, yet they gravitated toward one aspect of the ideal in extremes: moralistic, religious, political, etc. In Seamus Heaney’s play, the classical hero Philoctetes joyfully asks, when he is about to return home, “You know how your heart lifts when you think of home?” (Heaney 26). As Jim and Stephen became adults, the thought of returning home would not be similar to Philoctetes’ because they failed to live up to the extreme ideals.
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Stephen’s rejection of and Jim’s life-long quest of fulfilling the idealistic heroic roles hampered their ability to return home.
Jim: Feelings about Home
Jim never returns home because his family represents the quintessential Victorian family, whom he has failed. The Victorian era is sometimes perceived “as a period of stability following the upheavals of the industrial revolution” as well as “the era where the family as an institution was at its strongest” (Wilson 50–51). For Victorian families, “the image of the ideal home is an essential link between the public and the private domestic world” (Hepworth 17). The values for Victorian families were those of “thrift and discipline” (Wilson 51). Hepworth describes the Victorian home as a battleground: “a place of constant struggle to maintain privacy, security and respectability in a dangerous world” (Hepworth 19). Often this discontinuity between keeping up the façade of a perfect home and the reality of what was actually occurring could be a cause of great tension within homes. The first four chapters introduce Jim as a romantic dreamer “that so many Victorian novels of moral realism and education instruct” (Winner 21). As a romantic dreamer or hero, Jim “surrounds and protects the ideal he has conceived for himself, and at the same time remains imprisoned within that very ideal” (Raval 59). Even Jewel asks Marlow about why Jim “wandered from his home” and “had he no household there, no kinsmen in his own country? Had he no old mother, who would always remember his face?” (Conrad 164). Even Marlow admits that Jim “would never go home now. Not he. Never” because Jim “would grow desperately stiff and immovable” at the “idea of going home” (135). Jim becomes paralyzed because he realizes that his identity and the choices he has made do not live up to his family’s values. Even though there are “few particulars that are given of Jim’s home environment” (Van Ghent 41), there is no doubt that Jim’s family represents the old Victorian values. Jim’s father is “the old parson, whose timid domestic Christian code would be unable to embrace Jim’s problem” (Batchelor 107). For example, Jim’s father “suggests himself as an insignificant and foolish prater, full of ‘little thoughts about faith and virtue’” (Glassman 40). Batchelor argues that Jim’s family “back in England are insensate beings . . . while Jim has become a powerful mysterious figure beyond the range of their vision and thus of their
58 • Stance: Studies on the Family judgment” (149); however, Jim is actually still haunted by their influence on his identity and shamefully hides from their domineering control over who he has become. Jim never wrote back to his family after he joined the Patna because of his shame of who he had become. His identity or self-realization did not fit their high expectations. The letter is full of “easy morality” (Conrad 202, emphasis added), which Jim, the hero, had failed to live up to. Jim’s father warns against temptation: “[ Jim’s father] hopes his ‘dear James’ will never forget that ‘who once gives way to temptation, in the very instant hazards his total depravity and everlasting ruin” (203). Jim’s father “invokes Heaven’s blessing,” and “the mother and all the girls then at home send their love” (203). Jim neither responds to the letter nor returns home because he apprehends his failure: his identity as a hero, full of romantic dreams and moralistic hopes, was never fully accomplished. Jim’s family never hears from Jim again, and Jim dies without ever returning home. Some critics view Jim’s death “as an act of physical cowardice . . . because Jim has always been a daydreamer” (Drew 17), while other critics believe “Jims’s death is still a sacrifice of a sort” (Conroy 158). However, Ian Watt claims that “Jim does something which no other hero of a great twentieth-century novel has done: he dies for his honor” (75). What exactly is Jim’s honor, though, is to be determined. Jim’s father “articulate[s] strict codes by which Jim could be seen as ‘condemned’ even at the moment of death” (Batchelor 154) because in the letter from Jim’s family, the old pastor declares, “Virtue is one all over the world, and there is only one faith, one conceivable conduct of life, one manner of dying” (Conrad 202), which is dying as a man of virtue or at least a martyr. In the end, Jim sacrifices himself because his identity as an idealistic, romantic hero he created—in reaction to his home life—could not survive in the pragmatic, modern world.
Stephen: Feelings about Home Stephen’s true feelings of home are revealed in this passage: “When the soul of man is born in this country there are nets flung at it to hold it back from flight. You talk to me of nationality, language, religion. I shall try to fly by those nets” (A Portrait . . . 179). Stephen believes that in order to become an artist, he must reject his home, and as a self-identifying hero, “in achieving immortality, the hero enters isolation and transcends
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fellowship with others . . ., the very thing that gives his life meaning” (Breyfogle 16). Stephen claims that because “this race and this country and this life produced me . . . I shall express myself as I am” (A Portrait . . . 178). Literary theorist Douwe Fokkema stated, “The norms that Joyce violates are those of Edwardian Realism and the still prevailing Victorian code of behaviour”; therefore, Joyce’s writings “implied . . . a new, refreshing look at life” (192). But, Stephen’s separation from everyone and everything has “cut short his development as an artist: what he considers to be detachment and impersonality are in fact a kind of creative sterility” (Notes on James Joyce’s . . . 42). Stephen’s home life “has an uncanny feel to it precisely because it is ‘so familiar and so foreign’—in short, because [Stephen] is both at home and not at home in his use of it” (Law 197). The story, A Portrait, “ends where it begins: with a journey. This time it is not a child seeking his destiny who embarks, but a man seeking to fulfill a destiny newly discovered” (Robbins 275–276). Unlike Jim, Stephen continues his journey by returning home in order to search for his true identity. Ulysses captures one day in the life of Stephen after he has returned home to Ireland. In Ulysses, the hero is just as stubborn as he was in A Portrait. In fact, Stephen would probably have not returned home if his mother had not been on her deathbed. While watching the waves of the sea, Stephen recollects, after he has already returned home, “the seas’ ruler” (Ulysses 16). This statement could be “an allusion to the international predominance of Britain’s navy and merchant marine,” but “it is Poseidon, the god of the sea, who harasses Odysseus and attempts to prevent him from reaching Ithaca and home” (Gifford 23). In this instance, Stephen becomes an Odysseus figure, who was almost stopped from returning home from external influences. But Jules David Law argues that Stephen preserves the integrity of his home, at least in Stephen’s mind, “not by the expulsion of parasites and traitors but by a participation in the foreign or strange—by a venture outside the home” (Law 202). Yet Stephen’s journey home is just the beginning of his self-realization of his true identity.
Stephen’s Mother Yet Stephen—the boy who swears he must be isolated to find his true identity—returns home when his father informs Stephen of the death of
60 • Stance: Studies on the Family his mother. From the very beginning of Ulysses, the readers “first encounter in microcosm Stephen Dedalus’s search for identity—a search which will color the entire narrative” (Hill 329). But even at his mother’s deathbed, Stephen refused to pray, despite his “mother begging [Stephen] with her last breath to kneel down and pray for her” (Ulysses 7). Now, Stephen’s mother haunts him past the grave, “her glazing eyes, staring out of death, to shake and bend [Stephen’s] soul” (Ulysses 10). In the Circe episode, Stephen’s mother continues to haunt him calling him to repentance in a brothel. His mother, the ghoul, warns, “I pray for you in my other world” (409) and prays to God “have mercy on Stephen, Lord, for my sake!” (410). Hill claims that “by envisioning his mother as a ‘ghoul’ . . . he can blame her for threatening his identity and attempting to engulf him, thus again using her as a means to define himself ” (334). Perhaps Stephen was not able to completely shake off his past entirely, thus enabling his family to continue to shape his identity. The idea of a mother’s love shaping a hero’s identity is further emphasized throughout Ulysses. For example, when teaching in the school, Stephen helps a boy named Sargent, who is “ugly and futile: lean neck and tangle hair and a stain of ink, a snail’s bed” (Ulysses 23). The boy is a mess, but even prideful Stephen can recognize “someone had loved him, borne him in her arms and in her heart” (23). Stephen states, “Like him was I, these sloping shoulders, this gracelessness. My childhood bends beside me” (23). Stephen, consequently, identifies with someone other than himself. As a result, Stephen shows the potential for transforming his self-identity as a hero. “The Heroic Transformation of Consciousness,” as defined by Joseph Campbell, occurs “when we quit thinking primarily about ourselves and our own self-presevation” (The Power of Myth . . . 126). Stephen would certainly not have received the Teacher of the Year Award, yet he signifies a change a heart or a recognition of his potential to see other people instead of only himself. As a result, Stephen shows potential for losing the prideful Stephen persona and shaping his identity as a Modern hero in a new light. At the beginning of Ulysses, Stephen ponders to himself the word omphalos (8). This word means navel in Greek, but it also signifies the beginnig of Odysseus’s journey home in the “navel of the sea” (Gifford 17). Furthermore, some theorists “contemplated the omphalos variously
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as the place of the ‘astral soul of man,’ the center of self-consiousness, and the source of poetic and prophetic inspiaration” (17). Hence, upon Stephen’s return, it is a matter of determining his inner self, his soul, his identity.
Stephen’s Search for a Father Despite Stephen’s unresolved issues with his mother, Stephen’s continual search for a father figure shapes his identity. The beginning of Ulysses reveals “Stephan in the role of Telemachus, who has not found his father and is called to find him. Stephen, of course, has an actual father, Simon Dedalus, but Simon is not his spiritual father” (Mythic Worlds . . . 53). Researchers have found that adults continue to shape their identities into adulthood, just as children and adolescents do. When someone becomes an adult, the adult does not stop figuring out who he or she is. An adult’s spiritual identity “addresses ultimate questions about the nature, purpose, and meaning of life, resulting in behaviors that are consonant with the individual’s core values” (Colwell et al. 1269). Although Joyce told his friend while working on Ulysses, “Stephen no longer interests me to the same extent. He has a shape that can’t be changed” (Budgen 263), it could be interpreted that Stephen ultimately “[goes] forth on a quest to find his father, to forge in the smithy of his soul the uncreated conscience of his race, to become the savior of Ireland” (Mythic Worlds . . . 64). Of course, Ulysses only reveals Stephen’s progressions and digressions in one day. But Stephen here shows the potential to reshape his identity as a new man in his search for a spiritual father figure.
Conclusion The nets Stephen had rejected—his values he learned from home—are in all actuality the pillars that Jim sustained and established as his foundation; yet, even these pillars of naïve moralism crumbled beneath Jim when he failed to live up to expectations of his family and his own. This conflict of moralism and family values can be seen reflected in the larger realm of Modernist writing. The Modernists were reacting against the previous era. Victorian writings were full of pragmatic moralism; as a result, the Modernists rejected preachy didacticism by seeking a new moralism to live by.
62 • Stance: Studies on the Family Jules David Law clarifies, “Home is a notoriously unstable concept in modern literature” (197). However, Modernist writers “attempted to articulate some new hope” (Tracy 280) during this era of turmoil because just as Stephen and Jim were seeking their place in the world so were many readers searching for their identity. It is impossible to fully shake off the influence of an individual’s upbringing and home, whether that individual is an epic hero, a fallen modern hero, or a reader. The end of Ulysses concludes with Molly saying, “yes I said yes I will Yes” (552), which is “Molly’s affirmation from the realm of dream” (Mythic Worlds . . . 188). As Campbell explains, “The affirmation of life is what Joyce represents. Joyce did not have a happy life, but he said Yes to the life he had” (Mythic Worlds . . . 186). Neither the lives of the epic heroes nor the lives of Jim, Stephen, Bloom, Molly, or any Modernist reader are easy because “the returning hero, to complete his [or her] adventure, must survive the impact of the world” (A Hero . . . 194). Ultimately, Modernist writers desired to represent a realistic life, set with attainable morals and genuine familial relationships, for a hero to create a new identity.
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Works Cited Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms. 7th ed. Australia, Heinle & Heinle: Thomson Learning, 1999. Print. Batchelor, John. “Lord Jim.” London: Unwin Hyman, 1988. Print. Breyfogle, Todd. “Introduction: Texts and the Rendering of Imaginative Reality.” Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern. Ed. Todd Breyfogle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Print. Budgen, Frank. “Conversations with Joyce (1934).” James Joyce’s Ulysses: A Case Book. Ed. Derek Attridge. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004. Print. Campbell, Joseph. A Hero with a Thousand Faces. Novato: New World Library, 2008. Google Book Search. Web. 6 April 2013. Campbell, Joseph. Mythic Worlds, Modern Words: On the Art of James Joyce. New York: HarperColins, 1993. Print. Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. New York: Doubleday, 1988. Print. Colwell, Ronald K., et al. “Identity and Spirituality: A Psychosocial Exploration of the Sense of Spiritual Self.” Developmental Psychology 42.6 (2006): 1269–1277. PsycARTICLES. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. Conrad, Joseph. Lord Jim. A Norton Critical Edition 2nd ed. Ed. Thomas C. Moser. New York: Norton, 1996. Print. Drew, Elizabeth. “Understanding Lord Jim.” Critical Review of Lord Jim Joseph Conrad. Ed. Marvel Shmiefsky. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966. Print. Empric, Julienne H. “Stephen and M/Other.” The Women in the Portrait: The Transfiguring Female in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. San Bernadino: The Borgo, 1997. Print.
64 • Stance: Studies on the Family Fokkema, Douwe. “The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a Dog, and an Ape: Some Observations on Reception Theory.” Literary Theory and Criticism. Ed. Joseph P. Strelka. Bern: Peter Lang, 1984. Print. Gifford, Don. Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce’s Ulysses. 2nd ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988. Print. Glassman, Peter J. “An Intelligible Picture: Lord Jim.” Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print. Gose, Jr., Elliott B. “The Truth in the Well.” Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print. Harkness, Marguerite. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Voices of the Text. Boston: Twayne, 1990. Print. Heaney, Seamus. “The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes.” New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1991. Print. Hepworth, Mike. “Privacy, security and respectability: the ideal Victorian home.” Ideal Homes?: Social Change and Domestic Life. Eds. Chapman, Tony and Jenny Hockey. London: Routledge, 1999. 17–29. Web. 2 April 2013. Hill, Marylu. “‘Amor Matris’: Mother and Self in the Telemachiad Episode of Ulysses.” Twentieth Century Literature 39.3 (1993): 329–43. JSTOR. Web. 3 April 2013. Joyce, James. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Ed. John Paul Riquelme. A Norton Critical Edition. New York: Norton, 2007. Print. Joyce, James. Ulysses. Richmond: Alma Classics, 2012. Print. Law, Jules David. “Joyce’s ‘Delicate Siamese’ Equation: The Dialectic of Home in Ulysses.” PMLA 102.2 (1987): 197–205. JSTOR. Web. 3 April 2013. Notes on James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. London: Methuen Educational, 1970. Print.
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Pasupathi, Monisha, and Timothy Hoyt. “The Development of Narrative Identity in Late Adolescence and Emergent Adulthood: The Continued Importance of Listeners.” Developmental Psychology 45.2 (2009): 558– 574. PsycARTICLES. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. Raval, Suresh. The Art of Failure: Conrad’s Fiction. Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1986. Print. Roisman, Glenn I., et al. “The Emotional Integration of Childhood Experience: Physiological, Facial Expressive, and Self-Reported Emotional Response During the Adult Attachment Interview.” Developmental Psychology 40.5 (2004): 776–789. PsycARTICLES. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. Sani, Fabio, and Mark Bennett. “Children’s Inclusion of the Group in the Self: Evidence from A Self-Ingroup Confusion Paradigm.” Developmental Psychology 45.2 (2009): 503–10. PsycARTICLES. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. Smith, John B. Imagery and the Mind of Stephen Dedalus: A ComputerAssisted Study of Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. London: Bucknell University Press, 1980. Print. Thorburn, David. Conrad’s Romanticism. London: Yale University Press, 1974. Print. Thornton, Weldon. The Antimodernism of Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Syracruse: Syracuse University Press, 1994. Print. Tracy, David. “T. S. Eliot as Religious Thinker: Four Quartets.” Literary Imagination, Ancient and Modern. Ed. Todd Breyfogle. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Print. Van Ghent, Dorothy. “On Lord Jim.” Critical Review of Lord Jim Joseph Conrad. Ed. Marvel Shmiefsky. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1966. Print. Waith, Eugene M. “The Calling of Stephen Dedalus.” Portraits of an Artist: A Casebook of James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Eds. William E. Morris and Clifford A. Nault, Jr. New York: The Odyssey Press, 1962. Print. Watt, Ian. “The Ending.” Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Print.
66 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family Wilson, Adrian. Family. Florence: Routledge, 1985. Web. 2 April 2013. Winner, Anthony. Culture and Irony: Studies in Joseph Conradâ€™s Major Novels. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1988. Print.
Sister, Sister Elizabeth Barton
’ll never forget the time Mom took Emma and me to that weird, dome-shaped grocery store to buy prizes for the chore chart. My mom bought a timer too, one that went tick tick tick as we sat on the stool in the bathroom. I don’t remember sitting on the stool very often. My sister did, though. She sat there because she had a habit of screaming if she didn’t get what she wanted. Mom never wanted to send us to the stool. If she did, it was only to give us some time to cool down, to think about what we had done and how we could be better in the future. Even if my sister’s penetrating screams had caused a mirror to shatter, Mom would be waiting outside with loving arms when the timer buzzed. We were four years apart and at very different stages in life for most of our childhoods. She was the natural gymnast with the lanky limbs and I was the girl who couldn’t do a cart-wheel and so I tried every other sport instead. We were friends, but not best friends. After all, she was the little sister. At the age of seventeen, I was left in charge of my sister for two weeks while my parents went on a trip to China. There was something magical and simultaneously devastating about those two weeks; it was a time of unique sister-sister companionship and emotional bonding as a result 67
68 • Stance: Studies on the Family of minor catastrophe. One unsuspecting night, we got locked out of our house at 11:00 PM. We ended up calling a locksmith who opened our door and proceeded to steal $200 of my hard-earned cash. He ran out of our garage and into his scuffed-up minivan, fuzzy dice swinging back and forth as he zoomed away. Needless to say, it was a frightening night for the both of us. I don’t know why I didn’t think to call an adult or why I thought a strange locksmith was a good idea. Maybe we needed that experience together, something weirdly traumatizing to bring us closer. That night, we fell asleep holding each other tight in my parent’s “California king,” and from that day forward, she and I had an increasingly special bond. One of the reasons I chose to live at home during college rather than move to a dorm five minutes away was because I couldn’t bear to be apart from my best friend. I wanted our rooms to be right next to each other’s, and thank goodness they still are, otherwise we wouldn’t be able to scare each other, dance and joke around until the late hours. When I come home from a hard day of feeling inadequate or otherwise incomparable to those around me, she is there to tell me I am beautiful and lovely and that I am her best friend. All that matters is your family and God, she says. And so it’s true: We’re sisters and we’ll be sisters forever. When she screams, I’ll scream. And if she wants a crispy-bean burrito, we’ll get them together. There’s nothing she can do to scare me away, and I feel reassured to know that even when the timer “clicks,” we’ll still be sister, sister. Always and forever, sister, sister.
The Father and Mother of Us All: Interpretations of Christ’s Blood and Gender Roles in the Works of William Langland and Julian of Norwich Shane Peterson
“I behold the working of all the blessed Trinity in which beholding I saw and understood these three properties: The property of the fatherhood, and the property of the motherhood, and the property of the lordship in one God.” Julian of Norwich, A Book of Shewings
n Middle English literature, the portrayals of Jesus Christ evolved from a conqueror to a protector to a benevolent benefactor. As part of the doctrine of the Trinity, Christ, God, and the Holy Ghost were believed to be one entity with one purpose, an all-knowing and all-powerful being. In order to teach these religious principles as related to affective piety, some medieval writers, such as William Langland in Piers Plowman, portrayed Christ as a chivalrous knight to emphasize his divine nobility and willingness to protect the weak and the poor in spirit. Like other writers, Langland also took a more radical approach by comparing Christ to a rural farmer who took upon himself apostolic poverty and purchased mankind’s salvation through his bodily sacrifice in order to “feed” his children. A few writers or religious teachers like Julian of Norwich in A Book of Shewings even went as far as to compare Christ to a female or a mother to show his loving and nurturing nature. What is unique about all of these works is they primarily focus 69
70 • Stance: Studies on the Family on Christ’s role in the Trinity, his sacred bloodline, or his parentage over medieval Christians. These authors also use Christ’s physical body or his blood as the focal point of their metaphors, such as the shedding of his blood in combat or farming in Langland’s Piers Plowman and images of breast feeding or wounds from his death in Julian’s A Book of Showings.
Christ as Protector and Father The Savior was often portrayed as a conqueror long before Langland’s work in the fourteenth century. In Anglo-Saxon poetry, the author of “The Dream of the Rood” interprets Christ as a “young man” who was brave enough “in the sight of many” to climb up upon the cross to redeem all of mankind—a feat that was only possible for a great Saxon hero (“Dream” 34). Interpretations like this one changed from culture to culture depending on what the authors were trying to achieve and who their audiences were (such as Christian missionaries who were trying to convince the Celtic or Anglo-Saxon tribes of their need for a mediator). Poetic lyrics featuring Christ as a knight-in-arms evolved over the next few centuries according to the historical changes that took place within Britain (such as the establishment of the Norman dynasty or the advent of the legends of King Arthur). For example, the writers of the Incarnation Lyrics showed Christ as a knight in shining armor (much like the knight in Piers Plowman) rather than a pagan warrior in that he obeys a code of courtly manners and is willing to sacrifice himself for those weaker than he is. In “The Corpus Christi Carol,” the narrator finds a knight lying in a bed “hanged with gold so red” (7) with “his woundes bleeding by day and night” (10). A stone next to the bed reads Corpus Christi, meaning “body of Christ” (14). Next to the bed, a maid who may represent the Virgin Mary weeps over the dead knight for his brave deeds and sacrifice (11–12). Portraying Christ as a knight was not uncommon in the High Middle Ages because of a knight’s devotion to his church and country as part of the code of chivalry; a knight was expected to be Christ-like in every possible way, which included defending the weak and helpless. Langland continues this tradition of Christ as a knight or a protector by creating a character in Piers Plowman who is believed to be a simple knight. In the book, this knight is later revealed to be Jesus Christ himself in Passus 18, when his death and the Harrowing of Hell is compared to
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a joust in Jerusalem against Satan (Langland 398). According to Wilbur Gaffney, this knight is described as donning the Cross upon his armor and “embodying the chivalric virtues” in that he fights for mankind’s salvation (155). As part of his knightly duty, the Christ-knight in the poem swears to Piers, “I pledge you my word to uphold this obligation . . . As long as I live I shall look after you” (Langland 384). Therefore, the knight treats Piers and the other common people as his family by asserting himself as their protector and proprietor. These interpretations of Christ as a noble knight coincide with the doctrine of Christ or God being a father figure. Up until the fifteenth century, with the decline of feudalism, a man wealthy enough to own a war horse, a sword, a shield, and a full set of armor also owned enough land to have his own estate. He would also keep tenants to work the land and produce goods to sell for a profit. The English nobility was governed by a patriarchal system of men who protected their land or estates in exchange for loyalty and monetary support from their vassals or serfs as a part of the system of feudalism. This system of governance is similar to what Christ demanded from his followers in the Bible; he promised to save them from their sins in exchange for their obedience to God’s laws. Moreover, his blood is significant because of its saving power and his heritage as the Son of God. In essence, he was chosen to be a savior for humankind because of his bloodline, just as family lines determined nobility in European feudalism. By any standard, a man in a position of power functions as the surrogate father or the masculine guardian over those below him in station. In this sense, the Christ-knight of Piers Plowman acts in the Heavenly Father’s stead during the events of the poem asserting himself through his love and devotion as Piers’ sole guardian and benefactor. However, in this same poem, Christ is also portrayed as a lowly farmhand, representing the peasantry and the serfdom of the Middle English period. It is as if Christ were also the symbolic father of the commoners. Despite the lowliness of this state, Christ is still the incarnate God, holding all ownership over his people. As a loving and benevolent god, he is willing to pay the debt for their sins and misgivings by ransoming them from sin, as stated in the Norton Anthology: The real center of the Atonement was Mankind’s moral responsibility to pay God back. Humanity needed to repay God for the sin committed, but was unable to do so . . . . God could either simply
72 • Stance: Studies on the Family abolish the debt, or else become human, in order to repay Himself, as it were. God chose this later route, allowing Christ to suffer and die as a human in order to clear the debt. (395) Christ used his own blood to purchase mankind’s salvation that “binds together the community,” giving him full ownership over the human community like the landowner over his property and his workers (Marshall 57). What is interesting in Piers Plowman is that the same Christ-knight mentioned earlier is willing to not only protect the other villagers but is also willing to step down from his station and help them plow the fields to feed and nurture them—even if it means living as one of the rural farmers in a life of monastic poverty and giving up his own temporal body as a literal sacrifice. This representation of Christ as a poor farmer fits within a “long standing tradition of agricultural images” in the Middle Ages, in which planting, growing, and harvesting were used as spiritual metaphors (54). Christians of this era believed that there was a symbolic connection between a community of Christian worshippers and the body of Christ, as seen in the observance of the feast of Corpus Christi and other festivals. These changes in the religious culture at the end of the Medieval Period reveal a shifting perspective in which Christ goes from being a warrior king to a passive, feminine, lowly, and thin man as the final stage of his digression. Christ’s sacrifice becomes more of a tragedy than a triumph. This framework for “Christ’s humanity” shows him to be a different kind of god. In order to know him more and draw closer to him, his worshippers were expected to suffer as he did to understand his sacrifice for us during the Passion and the Crucifixion. The religious instructors of these worshippers would have made comparisons between his suffering and the agricultural landscape in order to educate churchgoers about God’s sacrifice for man, so that farmers and other laymen could compare themselves to their Lord, even in his anguish. Therefore, Langland and other medieval artists often compared Christ’s suffering and victory over death to farming or cultivating in the rural landscape of Britain. These artists would depict Christ as being surrounded by farming tools instead of the instruments of torture used during his death. These same labor tools are symbolically used as substitutions to these instruments of death, in which Christ’s body is harrowed and torn like a farm field to provide “spiritual food for mankind” (55). This
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same description of Christ’s “harrowing” lies in conjunction with the Harrowing of Hell as described in the Book of Nicodemus, where Christ plows up the earth and frees the souls of Hell held captive by the Devil (Langland 352). Once again, Christ purchases the ownership of his own children through his bodily passion and nurtures their temporal and spiritual needs. In Passus 18, Langland elaborates more on this agricultural theme of harrowing by associating Christ’s Atonement to the basic necessity of food when Christ retrieves the “fruit” for Piers Plowman (353). This same “fruit” alludes to an earlier part in the poem in Passus 16, when Piers plants an apple tree much like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden. The Devil comes and steals some of this fruit as a direct reference to the Fall of Adam and Eve. This same “food” that Christ retrieves also represents the souls of the patriarchs and the prophets from the Bible that have waited in Hell for his coming. These bodily manifestations of Christ in these contexts are described as intensely human because medieval Christians from the fourteenth century believed that Christ came down to Earth as a mortal to know what being human was like as both a highborn nobleman in coats of arms or a lowly farmer working in the fields. Langland would use this symbolic imagery of Christ as the master over a medieval estate and his manifestations as both a knight and a farmer in Piers Plowman to help promote the understanding of “the identification of Christ’s pain . . . with the sufferings of the rural laborer” rather than that of royalty or the landowners (Marshall 72). Perhaps Langland favored the idea of Christ being a commoner instead of a knight or a warrior, or at least accepted Christ as his only true master and king. His poem is unusually sympathetic with the “daily existence” of the rural farmers who are “charged with children and chief lords rent,” where women “struggle to feed their hungry children,” and men struggle to provide for their families (72). Through Langland’s work, the image of Christ’s body buying and feeding the rural communities of medieval Britain signifies the sacredness of his blood and his universal fatherhood of God’s children.
Christ as Nurturer and Mother These doctrinal teachings of Christ’s mortality and his parentage over humankind are repeated throughout the writings of Julian Norwich, who regarded “Christ’s body as the locus of spiritual enlightenment, or the
74 • Stance: Studies on the Family body as a vehicle for knowing god” (Robertson 113). However, her writing also shows “extraordinarily and idiosyncratically female uses of blood imagery,” which contributes to a more feminine or motherly portrayal of Jesus in religious writing of the High Middle Ages (113). During this time period, there was a growing emphasis on the body of Christ in religious teachings and an increasing belief that female motherhood was symbolic to God’s creative and saving powers. According to Bynum, the belief in God or Jesus as a mother began around the thirteenth century when writers like Bernard of Clairvaux began using complex maternal images to describe Jesus and his teachings (Bynum 115). In her article on the Christology of the late Middle Ages, Bledshoe agrees that “feminine representations of Jesus” abounded in Western Europe during this time period, in accordance with the tradition of affective piety (34). Many Christians saw that these more feminine characteristics were more “expressive of the human nature of Jesus” because of the veneration of the divine motherhood of the Virgin Mary (34). This tradition of Christ as a mother increased in enthusiasm with the advent of medieval writers like Julian of Norwich. They embodied a “growing sense of God as loving and accessible, a general tendency toward fulsome language, and a more accepting reaction to all natural things, including the physical human body” (Bynum 129–130). Once people began to view the human body with less revulsion, naturally they approached Christ’s body with an increased sense of reverence and respect. The people of the Middle Ages viewed the physical body, especially the female body, as immoral and corrupt because of the Fall of Adam and Eve. It is often described in medieval texts as being “twisted, torn, spat upon, struck, pierced, flagellated, and finally broken, pallid, and drained of blood” (Bestul 24). However, affective piety had become a mode of worship that shifted the focus more towards Christ’s bodily passion, in which his incarnation was stressed more than his Atonement or Judgment. People began to identify themselves with Christ through acts of bodily penance or self-infliction in an effort to identify that “Christ is what we are” (Bynum 130). Julian of Norwich placed particular emphasis on the descriptions of Christ’s mortal body even in her comparisons of Christ to the female body. In the beginning of her narrative, Julian is dying of a “bodily sickness” for three days and three nights and has a priest perform the last rites on
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her (Julian: A Book of Showings 414). When he sets a cross before her, a light shining around the crucifix focuses on the head of the graven image of Jesus as the rest of her vision darkens. Then, the light narrows down to “the red blood running down from under the garland” or the crown of thorns that was placed upon Christ’s head (414). This vision is described as being “living and vivid and hideous and fearful and sweet and lovely” in that it corrupts the boundaries between the soul and the human body, combining Christ’s divinity and humanity while still maintaining his light of saving grace (417). Julian even describes this vision as being seen rather than thought, as though it had all occurred in the present. This vision had such a profound impact on her after she eventually recovered from her illness and spent the next twenty years as an anchoress to meditate on her spiritual experiences and develop more spiritual insights about how Christ “is to us all thing that is good and comfortable to our help” (416). Part of the reason why Julian was driven to isolate herself from the world and become an anchoress was her feminine sexuality. According to a thirteenth-century rule for anchoresses outlined in Ancrene Wisse, the female body was at the “frontier of the flesh in its justification to anchoresses for fleeing the world” (Robertson 114). Medieval scholars and clergymen viewed the female body as a border between body and soul, or a “fissure” through which a constant assault on the body may be conducted, serving as a reminder of the body’s constant inner struggle with the eternal soul (Lochrie 19). Julian herself seems to be aware of the dissimilarity of the “heterogeneous” whenever she tried to imitate Christ (27). During all that time she spent alone in her chamber, she formed connections between her corrupted self and Christ’s body as the saving ordinance for humankind, making associations with her own female sexuality and Christ’s own physical body. One of the most distinct images in Julian’s work is the description of the mother Christ breast-feeding his (or her) children. She states that a “mother may give her child sucken her milk, but our precious mother Jesu he may feed us with himself, and doth full courteously and full tenderly with the blessed sacrament, that is precious food of very life” (Julian 421). Here, she compares the sacrament to a female Christ feeding her children for their sustenance and salvation. Symbolically, the milk of Christ feeds the souls of those who partake of the sacrament. This comparison was clearly manifested in rituals such as the Eucharist or festivals such as Corpus Christi. This idea also ties back into Christ feeding humankind
76 • Stance: Studies on the Family with his blood and flesh. According to medieval physiology, breast milk was considered to be processed blood (Bynum 132). In other words, milk and blood were thought to be interchangeable. Furthermore, Julian compares a mother breast-feeding a child to Christ’s third wound, where the spear pierced his side during the Crucifixion, when she says, “The mother may lay her child tenderly to her breast, but our tender mother Jesu, he may kindly lead us into his blessed breast by his sweet open side” (Julian 421). Therefore, Christ feeds his children with his own sacrificial blood like a mother nursing an infant. As part of this motif of Christ as a mother, A Book of Shewings shows him to be feminine, generative, sacrificial, and nurturing in his role as mother. Bynum believes that there are three basic stereotypes to Christ acting as a mother or a female: first, the female Christ acting as generative; second, feeling sacrificial in her generation; and, third, behaving lovingly and tenderly in her nurturing (131). Julian saw Christ as being meek and lowly as he entered “in this low place . . . all ready in our poor flesh, himself to do the service, he and the office of motherhood in all thing” (Julian 421). In other words, he was willing to take on the role of motherhood as necessary when he became “our mother sensual” or “our mother in kind in our substantial making” (420). According to the doctrine of the Trinity, his role as mother fits with his role as God and Creator simultaneously, allowing him to be womanly and motherly as well as godly. As a woman, he can perform the roles of creator, nurturer, and motherly protector of the children of men. Even through these descriptions of Christ as a mother, he is still, nonetheless, distinguished as being both a lowly mother and highborn royal because of his noble blood, being associated with the Virgin Mary in her more feminine portrayals. Julian claims that she also saw St. Mary in “bodily likeness” as “a simple maiden and a meek, young of age, a little waxen above a child, in the stature as she was when she conceived” (415). Like Mary, Christ had humble beginnings but became sanctified and revered as a monarch over the whole mortal race. Julian still recognizes Christ as lord over all, even in her feminine descriptions of him. However, she used Christ and Mary in their lowest stations in her writings to create empathy between the subjects of her work and her audience. Of course, portraying Christ as a mother instead of a father is purely symbolic for the sake of teaching a spiritual point. Suleiman argues that
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the significance of portrayals of the female body in medieval works of art lies not with its flesh-and-blood physicality but in its use as a “symbolic construct,” particularly in religious writing (221). Julian certainly was not the first to write about a more feminine Christ to emphasize his motherhood, nor was she the last. Perhaps Julian feels that her visions of God or Christ and her descriptions of these images only serve to “spite” her sex, despite her authority as an anchoress or her “theological creativity” (Bynum 136). Moreover, she describes Christ as not only the mother but also the father and the brother of humankind—a divine kinsman who has bought men their salvation through the blood that he shed. She applies all of these manifestations to the Trinity or Godhead in that “the high might of the Trinity is our Father, and the deep wisdom of the Trinity is our mother, and the great love of the Trinity is our lord” (Julian 420). She saw God as “encompassing both sexes” because he can “be referred to only metaphorically as a person and that any assignment of sex or attribution of gender to the Creator projects the conditions of creatureliness onto the ineffable” (Baker 108). However, she certainly helped popularize and perpetuate the idea of Christ being the mother of us all, in that her writings of the subject became one of “the greatest reformulations in the history of the theology” (136). In any case, she must have viewed Christ as being more loving, kind, and dear as a female than a male. Men, as authoritative figures, were cruel and punishing in the Middle Ages, especially to the weak, including women and children. Women were the distinct opposite because of their roles of child bearers and nurturers, a construct that Julian was deliberate in applying to God or Jesus. It is also interesting to note that she uses the appropriate gender roles and attributes to each gender-specific interpretation of Christ by describing the father of the Trinity as “might” and the mother as “wisdom.” Either way, she combined the two to describe God as pure love in his lordship over the human race. She reached this conclusion over the course of her career as an anchoress, in which her “meditations on her visions over the years persuaded her that God is not a vindictive God, prone to punish or rebuke” but is “a God who saw His people through the eyes of love and through grace brought by Christ’s death and resurrection” (“Julian of Norwich” 586). In the end, she believed that it was Christ’s love that would save his children more than his blood, his bodily strength, or his kinship.
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Conclusion Although religious teachers and worshippers understood that Jesus was a humble and lowly man as written in the Bible, these portrayals of Christ as a man or a woman in Middle English literature were purely symbolic for the sake of political or doctrinal commentary. Furthermore, these two interpretations fit into the mold of the family roles that medieval men and women filled in their domestic lives; men were the protectors and providers, and women were the nurturers of their children. It was not uncommon for Jesus to function in different societal or parental roles as part of the doctrine of affective piety and the concept of Christâ€™s humanity. This belief became increasingly popular in the Middle English period with the publication of the works of writers like William Langland and Julian of Norwich. Through their depictions of Jesus as both the father and the mother of mankind respectively, they display a unique conception of universal love and the spiritual versatility of the Trinity, in which God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are of one mold and one mind. The God of Middle English literature is all-powerful through his ability to function in multiple roles that span across class and gender lines, while still remaining perfectly and utterly human in his mortality.
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Works Cited Baker, Denise Nowakowski. Julian of Norwich’s Showings: From Vision to Book. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1994. Print. Bestul, Thomas H. Texts of the Passion: Latin Devotional Literature and Medieval Society. Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996. Print. Bledsoe, Jenny “Feminine Images of Jesus: Later Medieval Christology and the Devaluation of the Feminine.” Intermountain West Journal of Religious Studies 3.1. Utah State University: Merrill-Cazier Library, 2011. Web. 17 Feb. 2012. Bynum, Caroline Walker. Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages. Berkley: University of California Press, 1982. Print. “Christ’s Humanity.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages. Vol. A. 9th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print. “The Corpus Christi Carol.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages. Vol. A. 9th ed. Ed. Julia Reidhead. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print. “The Dream of the Rood.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages. Vol. A. 9th ed. Ed. Julia Reidhead. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print. Gaffney, Wilbur. “The Allegory of the Christ-Knight in Piers Plowman.” PMLA 46. 1. Spring 1931. JSTOR. Web. 3 March 2013. Julian: A Book of Showings. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages. Vol. A. 9th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print. “Julian of Norwich.” The Broadview Anthology of British Literature: The Medieval Period. Vol. 1. 2nd ed. Ed. Don Le Pan. Ontario: Broadview Press, 2009. Print.
80 • Stance: Studies on the Family Langland, William. The Vision of Piers Plowman. The Norton Anthology of English Literature: The Middle Ages. Vol. A. 9th ed. Ed. Stephen Greenblatt. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2012. Print. Lochrie, Karma. Margery Kempe and Translations of the Flesh. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991. Print. Marshall, Claire. William Langland: Piers Plowman. United Kingdom: Northcote House Publishers Ltd., 2001. Print. Roberston, Elizabeth. “The Rule of the Body: The Feminine Spirituality of the Ancrene Wisse.” Seeking the Woman in Late Medieval and Renaissance Writings: Essays in Feminist Contextual Criticism. Ed. Shelia Fisher and Janet E. Halley. Knoxville: University of Tennesse Press, 1981. Print. Suleiman, Susan Rubin. The Female Body in Western Culture: Contemporary Perspectives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986. Print.
Same-Sex Marriage: Perspectives to Consider Karee Brown & Conor Hilton
In October 2014, the Supreme Court decided to not make a decision. Essentially, the Supreme Court permitted state rulings to allow same-sex marriage to stand. This decision strikes down bans of same-sex marriage in other states. Robert Barnes explains, “The decision is likely to expand samesex marriage to other states covered by the federal appeals courts that already have ruled that the bans are unconstitutional: Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina.” The Court’s “non-decision” is seen as helping those who are in support of same-sex marriage. Two responses below represent different perspectives concerning the issue of Mormons and whether or not they should support marriage equality.
Lean Right: “How to Live with Change” By Karee Brown I will be honest, I have been out of the loop on political issues for the past two years. I guess serving an LDS mission will do that to you; but after my mission, I didn’t feel any rush or the need to get back into the “loop” of current events. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
82 • Stance: Studies on the Family Sadly, being ignorant of current affairs can hurt you. Last Tuesday, I was shocked, to say the least, that on Monday, the Supreme Court made the decision to let the appeals court rulings stand in regards to same-sex marriage, thus striking down bans on same-sex marriage in five states, including Utah. I wondered about these questions: •
What is this decision going to do to our country?
Will it deplete the idea of the traditional family?
Will it destroy the idea that the family unit is ordained of God?
Inspired prophets and apostles of God wrote and published “The Family: A Proclamation to the World.” President Gordon B. Hinckley read this proclamation, which was part of his message at the General Relief Society Meeting on 23 September 1995 in Salt Lake City, Utah. We need the truths and principles contained in this proclamation to help us to understand what God wants. With this proclamation—and the words of other prophets and apostles—everyone, both members of the Church and non-members, can gain strength in God’s plan for us. So how are we going to live with these changes that we cannot currently change ourselves? In the talk given October 2014 called “Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families,” Elder L. Tom Perry taught, “How we learn to adjust to the changes which come along depends on the foundation on which we build.” Undoubtedly, the inspired messages of General Conference were sent by God through his servants to prepare us and to help sustain us with the changes that are coming. I suggest four things that I found from General Conference that can help us with change: 1. Look to Christ. From the talk listed above, Elder Perry also said, “The Savior is the Master Teacher. We follow Him. . . . Jesus is the great
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Exemplar. The only way to find lasting peace is to look to Him and live.” Therefore, to find peace during change, we must follow Christ. 2. Love others. In the talk “Loving Others and Living with Differences,” Dallin H. Oaks reminds us of the “new commandment” Jesus gave to His apostles: Love one another. His talk was based on how we can love others and live with differences. In a world where our beliefs are going to differ more and more from others, loving those individuals, even those who are different from us, will be key. 3. Follow the prophet. Sister Carol McConkie explained in her talk “Live according to the Words of the Prophets.” “When we choose to live according to the words of the prophets, we are on the covenant path that leads to eternal perfection.” 4. Have faith. Blessings will come to righteous families if we follow the Lord and his prophets and apostles. “Remember that the greatest of all the blessings of the Lord come through and are given to righteous families,” says Elder L. Tom Perry. Change can be scary. However, we can gain peace as we are obedient. We must never forget that there is no middle ground, no gray. Our choice is black and white: We must choose to follow the Savior.
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Lean Left: “Mormons for Marriage Equality” By Conor Hilton The debate surrounding marriage equality is ugly and quite charged with accusations on both sides. Even the very language we use to discuss the debate reveals our biases and leanings. (I mean would anyone choose to say they oppose marriage equality? No. That makes you sound like a heartless tin man, so you say you support traditional marriage.) As a Mormon, who happens to support marriage equality (refer to “Why You Can Support All Marriages’’), I have seen, read, and experienced much of this ugliness. To truly follow the counsel of Elder Dallin H. Oaks, we have got to stop this. Sure, those individuals who lean left should stop calling conservatives bigots and homophobes. But that is not really the problem for most of the Church or BYU. Instead, progressives/liberals/democrats are painted as apostate or otherwise barely holding on to their dying testimony, the light of which has been doused in the suffocating stream of secularism. This perspective is equally unfair and un-Christlike. Here are five thoughts to consider: 1. To politically support marriage equality does not equate to advocating for homosexuality or suggesting that homosexuality is moral behavior. In fact, there are multiple instances of Church leaders saying broadly that there is no political litmus test for Church membership and specifically that members are free to disagree with the political position (refer to “For More Information” at the bottom for quotes from President Monson, Elder L. Whitney Clayton, and others at Mormons for Marriage). 2. Mormonism contains a strong belief in the ability to receive a personal witness of the truthfulness of any message. This statement corresponds to a belief in prophetic fallibility,1 the idea that prophets and apostles are men, inspired by God, but still subject to the foibles that all of humanity faces. This can be seen in any study of Church history, but is a touchy subject for most members of the Church.
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3. Data suggest that families are less broken and more plentiful in states which have legalized same-sex marriage. These states show marriage rates equal to or slightly higher than the national average, with divorce rates lower than the national average. The lowest divorce rate in the country is in Massachusetts, having same-sex marriage since 2004, the longest of any state in the U.S. (“Gay Marriage” 2013). Obviously, there could be larger trends and changes in the future after short-term benefits. However, the data we do have suggests that the apocalyptic future predicted by conservative pundits is not coming. 4. I support same-sex marriage because, as the Supreme Court ruled decades ago, separate is inherently unequal. It feels wrong to me to deny someone the right to marry based on who that is, given the Church now teaches that homosexuality is a condition of birth and not caused by sin or deviations later in life. Who am I to claim that one person’s love is superior to another? 5. I am not opposed to personal morality coloring our political decisions. However, for me, if society at large or other individuals are not impacted by the action, it seems immoral to impose my personal code of morality on them. I do not see the slippery slope of same-sex marriage that others do; the logic falls apart for me. An entire article could be devoted to this point alone, but that’s beyond the scope of this piece. I do not believe that all Mormons should necessarily support same-sex marriage. I believe we need political diversity in the Church and we need the ability to express our beliefs and feelings in a civil manner, especially when we disagree. Regardless of your personal stance on same-sex marriage, recognize that there is room for active, faithful members of the Church to be on both sides and treat each other as Jesus would.
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Works Cited Barnes, Robert. “Supreme Court Declines to Review Same-Sex Marriage Cases, Allowing Unions in 5 States.” The Washington Post. 6 Oct. 2014. N.p. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. Brown, Hugh B. An Abundant Life: The Memoirs of Hugh B. Brown. Signature Books, 1988. Print. “The Family: A Proclamation to the Lord.” lds.org. n.p. 23 September 1995. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. “Gay Marriage: States That Allow Same-Sex Unions Have Lower Divorce Rates.” Huffington Post. 27 June 2013. n.p. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. McKonkie, Carol F. “Live according to the Words of the Prophets.” lds.org. October 2014. n.p. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. Oaks, Dallin H. “Loving Others and Living with Differences.” lds.org. October 2014. n.p. Web. 13 November 2014. Perry, L. Tom. “Finding Lasting Peace and Building Eternal Families.” lds.org. October 2014. n.p. Web.13 Nov. 2014. “Why You Can Support All Marriages.” Mormons for Marriage. WordPress, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
For More Information Moore, Carrie A. “Thomas S. Monson named as a new LDS president.” Deseret News. 4 February 2008. n.p. Web. 13 Nov. 2014. Stack, Peggy Fletcher. “Prop 8: California gay marriage fight divides LDS faithful.” The Salt Lake Tribune. 26 Oct. 2008. n.p. Web. 14 Nov. 2014. “Why You Can Support All Marriages.” Mormons for Marriage. WordPress, n.d. Web. 13 Nov. 2014.
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Endnote 1. “With respect to people feeling that whatever the brethren say is gospel, this tends to undermine the proposition of freedom of speech and thought. As members of the church we are bound to sustain and support the brethren in the positions they occupy so long as their conduct entitles them to that. But we also have only to defend those doctrines of the church contained in the four standard works— the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Anything beyond that by anyone is his or her own opinion and not scripture. Although there are certain statements that whatever the brethren say becomes the word of God, this is a dangerous practice to apply to all leaders and all cases. The only way I know of by which the teachings of any person or group may become binding upon the church is if the teachings have been reviewed by all the brethren, submitted to the highest councils of the church, and then approved by the whole body of the church” (Brown 1988).
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Parent-Child Attachment Security and Its Influence on Later Relationships Rebecca Walsh
child’s social development later in life has often been predicted by the classification of attachment security that they experienced with their caretaker as a child. According to the attachment theory, a child’s internal working model of relationships forms during early child-parent interactions and then carried forth into later social structures (Wood, Emmerson, & Cowan, 2004, p. 245). This article will discuss the influence of child-parent attachment security on a child’s later relationships with peers by looking at rejection, bullying, aggression, and the child’s expectations.
The Research Past and current research supports the theory that attachment security at an early age has an effect on the child’s later social development. Easterbrooks and Lamb (1979), two researchers from the University of Michigan, found that eighteen-month-old infants who had a solid, secure attachment to their mother engaged in more competent interactions with peers than the infants who had an insecure attachment. Competent social interactions of the children were described by the authors as participation in activities independently from their mothers in order to engage in exploration and association with peers (Easterbrooks & Lamb, 1979, p. 386). 89
90 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family Those children who suffered from an insecure attachment were more likely to seek proximity to their caregiver and were less likely to venture out into unexplored social settings (Easterbrooks & Lamb, 1979, p. 380). This research suggests that through the early stages of the child-parent relationship, infants develop an orientation to the social world that persists throughout later relationships. From their early attachments, children learn to expect certain things in a relationship, and these expectations lead to varying levels of social competence with peers.
Children without Secure Attachments Children have a higher chance of experiencing peer rejection and aggression in later school years if they had an insecure attachment with a caregiver as an infant (Wood et al., 2004, p. 245). These children, actively rejected by their peers, suffer from social phobia and a decreased desire for social contact. This can lead to a lack of social opportunities where children would normally learn social coping skills (Burmairu & Kerns, 2010, pp. 664â€“672). Children also experience higher levels of bullying in later years if they have had a history of insecure attachment with their mother (Eiden et al., 2010, p. 342). Studies have shown less secure children to have a higher tendency for hostility, impulsivity, and aggressive behavior in kindergarten; they tend to start more fights than their secure counterparts (Ranson & Urichuk, 2008, p. 138; Boreilli et al., 2010, p. 476). Furthermore, children who were classified as insecure exhibited increased levels of externalizing behavior such as aggression, oppositional problems, and conduct hostility (Fearon, Lapsley, Bakermans-Kranenburg, IJzendoorn, & Roisman, 2010, p. 438, 442). Insecure attachment during the first year of life promotes an unstable child-parent relationship that children will associate with, and expect in, later relationships. Consequently, many will respond to social situations with aggression and antisocial behaviors.
Children with Secure Attachments In contrast, those children who benefited from secure attachments with caregivers from a very young age were able to successfully develop social
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skills and effectively form positive peer relationships (Kochanska et al., 2010, p. 998). Research shows that children who had secure backgrounds were able to initiate contact or respond effectively to an invitation from a peer and subsequently build upon those relationships in contrast to children with anxious attachment histories (Sroufe, 2005, p. 357). Studies also reveal that children who were securely attached at age two displayed more adaptive social attitudes and expectations for peer interactions at age four (Raikes & Thompson, 2008, pp. 337â€“338). The attachment theory states that children develop a mindset at a young age of what to expect in a social situation; they then carry out these expectations into peer interaction settings where they act like self-fulfilling prophecies.
Conclusion The early child-parent relationship has a clear and lasting effect on childrenâ€™s future relationships with peers. Insecure children experience more rejection, bullying, and lack of social skills as a result of their attachment history, whereas secure children learn adaptive and positive socializing traits with their peers. Therefore, it is of critical importance that mothers and fathers strive to strengthen a relationship of trust with their infant child before it is too late. Creating an environment of love within the home, parents can help ensure that their child will have greater social skills and more positive relationships with their peers.
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Works Cited Boreilli, J. L., Crowley, M. J., David, D. H., Sbarra, D. A., Anderson, G. M., & Mayes, L. C. (2010). Attachment and emotion in school-aged children. Emotion, 10(4), 475–485. Brumariu, L. E., & Kerns, K. A. (2010). Mother-child attachment patterns and different types of anxiety symptoms: Is there specificity of relations? Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 41(6), 663–674. Eiden, R. D., Ostrov, J. M., Colder, C. R., Leonard, K. E., Edwards, E. P., & Orrange-Torchia, T. (2010). Parent alcohol problems and peer bullying and victimization: Child gender and toddler attachment security as moderators. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39(3), 341–350. Easterbrooks, M. A., & Lamb, M. E. (1979). The relationship between quality of infant-mother attachment and infant competence in initial encounters with peers. Child Development, 50, 380–387. Fearon, R., Lapsley, A. M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Roisman, G. I. (2010). The significance of insecure attachment and disorganization in the development of children’s externalizing behavior: a meta-analytic study. Child Development, 81(2), 435–456. Kochanska, G., Woodard, J., Sanghag, K., Koenig, J. L., Jeung, E. Y., & Barry, R. A. (2010). Positive socialization mechanisms in secure and insecure parent-child dyads: Two longitudinal studies. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 51(9), 998–1009. Raikes, H. A., & Thompson, R. A. (2008). Attachment security and parenting quality predict children’s problem-solving, attributions, and loneliness with peers. Attachment & Human Development, 10(3), 319–344. Ranson, K. E., & Urichuk, L. J. (2008). The effect of parent-child attachment relationships on child biopsychosocial outcomes: A review. Early Child Development & Care, 178(2), 129–152. Sroufe, L. A. (2005). Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal study from birth to adulthood. Attachment & Human Development, 7(4), 349–367.
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Wood, J. J., Emmerson, N. A., & Cowan, P. A. (2004). Is early attachment security carried forward into relationships with preschool peers? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 22, 245â€“253.
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Photographs Genevieve Pettijohn
The next few pages reveals the perspective of photographer Genevive Pettijohn. Here we see a bright, summery day, perfect for adventures, wandering about, and no school (of course). Whether blowing dandelions into the wind or hidingâ€”and gigglingâ€”in trees or resting by the side of a shimmering pond, there is something inexplicable about feeling at home with Mother Nature.
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“taking in the view”
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Staying Home, the Mother’s Choice: Perpsectives to Consider Brittney Wallentine & Jessica Porter
These two responses compare and contrast the decision that mothers must make whether or not they will stay home. The choice is certainly not easy. Brittney Wallentine and Jessica Porter address different perspectives and offer their opinions tactfully and carefully.
Choosing to Stay Home By Brittney Wallentine
When I was seven, I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom when I grew up. My mom stayed home. Most of my aunts stayed home. My best friends’ moms stayed home, and at age seven, I was naïve in thinking that to be a mom you had to stay home. Now, I know that moms have hundreds of other options, but when my son was born, I quit working to stay home with him. A friend recently asked me if I am able to stay home with my son. To me, her question implied, “Can you afford it?” It seems that a lot of moms feel they have to work to provide for their children. I’ve met young mothers who seem to admire my decision to stay home and seem to want the same thing in their families, yet they work outside the home. While it’s often true that families can’t live on a single income, I think that more often than not we can make it work to be home, if that’s what we want. 109
110 • Stance: Studies on the Family For me, the questions I asked to decide if I would stay home were, “Do I want to stay home with my son?” and “Does God want me to stay home with my son?” not “Can I afford to stay home with my son?” The world tells us we need a lot of things: a nice apartment, a new phone, tickets to the game, expensive dates, vacations, snack foods, convenience foods, and so on. It’s taken a lot of faith and sacrifice for our family to give up those things. We only get them occasionally, if at all. For us, we’ve redefined needs. To me, our family’s needs are faith in God, basic food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, and love. I remind myself that if we give up everything else, I get to stay home with my son. I get to spend most of my time with my son. I get to spend most of my evenings with my husband—at least for dinnertime. I get to be the one to see my son’s “firsts.” I was there for his first laugh, his first steps, his first wave, his first word. I get to be home and “drive” cars with him across the floor. I get to build blanket forts with him. I get to lie in bed with him on lazy mornings and read stories. And most of all, I get all the time possible to teach him. Together, we learn about the world. I teach him to pick up after himself, to make animal noises, to listen, to obey, and so much more. Every day I share my testimony with him. I teach him to be nice, and I learn to be patient with him. We work together and we grow together. The priceless moments I have with my son make all the sacrifices our family makes worth it. We don’t have everything, but we have the most important things.
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A Response to “Choosing to Stay Home” By Jessica Porter Dear Brittany, After reading your article “Choosing to Stay Home,” I reflected on a few experiences that helped me to see that this subject is not as black and white as it may appear. I applaud your decision in staying home with your son, for it is surely a rewarding one. However, I would like to bring to light another side to the decision of staying home. I believe that we both strongly agree that motherhood is, first and foremost, about being a teacher, a strength, and a nurturer to children. But I would also like to acknowledge that there are various ways to fulfill this sacred calling, not all of which include staying at home. Like you, I have witnessed various types of mothers in varying home-life circumstances. I have no doubt that these mothers asked the questions “Does God want me to stay home with my children?” or “Can I afford to stay home with my children?” Much to their surprise, the answer has not always been yes. Sometimes women are given circumstances that challenge the idea of what it means to be a mom. To help clarify this point, I would like to draw from some of my most cherished memories involving different types of mothers. Years ago, I remember sitting on a beat-up, old couch across from a mother with tearstained eyes and a forced smile, as her three little children hopped around our feet. She had been struggling financially and mentally and was having trouble nurturing her children in the way they needed. As a result of her desire for her children’s health and happiness, she reached out to others in the community to help her care for her children. Because of her decision to include others in caring for her children, she was able to give them the support and the edification they needed. Another mother I have had the privilege of knowing also showed me a different outlook on being a mom. After the death of her husband, she was left to take care of her four children. This untimely death left her in a financial struggle. In an effort to avoid debt, not only she, but her older children, went to work to provide for the family. This decision was undoubtedly an uncomfortable change. But because the mother was determined to sustain her family and to keep them close to God, she made sure
112 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family that her children received the very best she could give them. She could no longer afford to spend her days watching her children take their first step or play their first baseball game. However, what she could do was plan out a way that her family could survive off of what they earned. And when she was home, she dedicated herself to the very details of her childrenâ€™s lives, enriching them mentally, physically, and spiritually. As an outsider looking in on their family, I can truly say that it is rare to find such happy and faithful children as those under her care. It is these types of mothers that prove to me that there is not one way to fulfill the role of being a mother. There is not one answer to the question of whether or not mothers should stay at home with their children. The real question should be the following: how can I best support and love and uplift my children in the situation I am given? When this question is answered with diligence, determination, and faith in God, then women will find that those priceless moments of motherhood will flow whether they are stay-at-home moms or not. Sincerely, Jessica
Paternal Grief of Stillbirth: A Clarion Call to Action Matthew Stradley
iving 2,500 miles away at the time, I was not able to offer neither advice nor a shoulder to cry on for my brother Steven, who went through the silent stillbirth of his second child. The distance posed only a portion of the obstacle, and my lack of knowledge and understanding inhibited my ability to offer help and support. Only recently did I hold a pointed conversation with him, discussing his feelings concerning the hardship of his daughter’s stillbirth. I never knew of the depth of sorrow he felt as the unexpected, hopeful pregnancy of his wife turned to the bitter news of complications that would result in the infant’s death. Nor was I aware of the feelings of irritation, annoyance, and anger he felt as he walked down the street, passing cheerful parents with their giggling children—grinning as if to spite the smile he would never see on his own daughter’s face. Even now, after having talked with my brother, I cannot completely sympathize with him because I have never had a similar experience. However, I now possess a greater understanding of what a grieving father feels— knowledge which, I hope, will help me know how to strengthen him and others experiencing similar trials.
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Stillbirth: Affecting Mothers and Fathers Stillbirth is defined as the death of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It occurs in approximately 1 in 160 pregnancies (March of Dimes). The perinatal death of a child strongly affects the parents involved. The word parents is used purposefully, as generally more focus is placed on the plight of the mother than that of the father. Not only does the mother of the child experience grief and pain but so does the father. But to what degree? How does paternal grief relate to maternal grief ? How does it differ? In what ways can fathers be helped through the grieving process? Often, the grieving of a father is overlooked and untreated, left to be resolved at a later time—a time that may not come. The connection between a father and his unborn child, the grief accompanied by the child’s death, and the role a father plays before and after stillbirth all contribute to the father’s need of support. We need to help fathers through the grieving process in mourning the stillborn child and to find suitable outlets. This process is just as important as helping mothers through their grief.
Perinatal Bereavement The death of a newborn baby is sometimes anticipated in advance and, at other times, completely unexpected. The death carries with it a load of grief and pain for parents. Perinatal bereavement (i.e., grief and pain associated with the loss of a child at or near the time of birth) can be seen at different levels. Factors—such as gender, personality, number of living children, and environmental or situational events—and personal responsibilities play a key role in determining a parent’s bereavement (Fenstermacher and Hupcey, 2394). So many factors make judging a certain couple’s grief difficult. Additionally, knowing exactly how to sympathize with and support parents is hard. Promises of a child full of light and life turn to thoughts and feelings of darkness and death. Grief manifests itself in varying ways for different parents. Many questions remain unanswered, guilt may accompany the feelings of parents looking for the cause of their infant’s death, depression can set in, and anxiety can take over (Cacciatore, 91).
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Maternal Connection and Grief When all factors leading to grief are weighed, one of the most prominent and influential is the mother’s connection with the prenatal child. The connection between mother and child is singular. Because of this connection, generally the mother of a stillborn child receives the majority of the support and sympathy offered to the couple. I do not intend for this statement to be cynical or sexist in any way. Rather, this statement is to juxtapose the grief, connection, and role of both the mother and the father in this particular situation. It is the mother, after all, who carries the child, develops a deep bond with the baby, feels its motion, and, eventually, lack of motion (Saflund and Wredling, 1197). Aside from carrying and experiencing the child internally, the mother’s attachment also involves external factors. Planning and preparing the room where the newborn will sleep, deciding on a name to call him or her, picking out clothes—although peripheral in nature, these factors create a deep emotional and mental tie between mother and child. Combining all aspects together, we see a strong bond between a mother-to-be and child—a bond brutally broken when the mother learns of the child’s death. While the connection between mother and child is singular and strong, the perinatal bereavement of the mother generally lasts longer and is more apparent than the father’s (O’Neill, 33). As stillbirth entails both the birth and death of a child simultaneously, emotions become mixed, having a profound psychological effect on the mother. As mentioned earlier, various factors (e.g., biological, environmental, mental, etc.) combine to form a negative outcome, which often takes the form of long, drawn-out grief. About 20% of mothers who have a stillbirth will fall into a long episode of depression, dealing also with possible strains on their relationships (especially their spouse) and feeling out-of-place in social settings (Cacciatore, 91). Amidst mixed emotions and thoughts, women tend to fare worse psychologically than men (Saflund and Wredling, 1197). Women take their own time and work by their individual methods of coping, as do men. (See Figure 1.) The two separate methods of coping, however, are dissimilar and reserve the possibility of clashing and straining a couple’s relationship. Thus, in relation to their deeper connection with the infant, women often need sources of help or comfort personally tailored to their needs, impertinent to the needs of the father. This helps explain of why fathers lack a reception of attention.
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Figure 1. Here we see the Kübler-Ross Grief Cycle. This graph shows the grief cycle of individuals affected by change. The amount of time required to complete the cycle, however, depends on the person and situation (Straker).
Paternal Connection, Grief, and Social Roles Contrastingly to the connection and grief of the mother, the effects of the broken connection between father and child are less apparent. Because the father is not involved in the actual carrying of the child, the father lacks the natural bond experienced between mother and child. Instead, what he experiences in this situation is more of a “peripheral experience” (Stradley). Physically, the father holds no connection whatsoever with the baby, except what he receives through the mother in a form of vicarious relationship. In explaining the difference in attachment level between men and women and their child, Brett O’Neill recounts his personal experience in dealing with stillbirth: A father’s attachment to the unborn child varies. How connected a father is to that child may affect his reaction to the stillbirth. Perhaps I “hid” behind the stronger role as a way of distancing myself from the event and staying in control. Perhaps I was not as “attached” as I thought. Either way I was clearly not as visibly affected as my wife. I was overawed at my wife’s sadness. It made me realize that her love of the child was greater than mine, and her attachment was also closer. (33–34) Often through no fault of his own, the father is unable to reach the same level of attachment (and therefore the same level of accompanying grief ) as the mother. This lack of connection presents us with one reasonable
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explanation for why men often get overlooked and placed behind the woman when comforters come to aid the couple in the grieving process. A father’s expected and assumed social role and the grief he feels accompanying stillbirth are often related. Generally, in American patriarchal society, it is the man’s responsibility to provide financially for his family. The logistics of medical care, hospital visits and stays, preparing and furnishing a new baby’s room, buying baby clothes, and putting food on the table run through the father’s mind and dictate how he uses his time. Planning on having a child (a new mouth to feed, body to cloth, etc.) adds an additional pressure to the father’s role as provider. The father consciously plans for the adjusted budget and works out the logistics previously mentioned. Physical, fiscal, and even psychological preparations are all made for the birth and future of his new child. However, when he receives the news of his child’s stillbirth, it undermines his preparations and may psychologically and emotionally affect him. When informed about the perinatal death of their child, fathers do, in fact, feel shock, anger, loneliness, emptiness, and helplessness (Badenhorst, Riches, Turton and Hughes, 254). Such an abrupt, unexpected event requires time to evaluate the shift in projected logistics. However, more importantly, it requires time to grieve. The father may not have carried the child for twenty or more weeks, but he remained alongside his wife who did, and it was still his child. He prepared physically, mentally, financially, emotionally, and often spiritually for the day when he would be able to hold his newborn infant—just to have those dreams and hopes haplessly dashed. Fathers along with mothers need time to grieve, and they require comfort and consolation through the grieving process. An additional social role that influences a father’s grief is the relationship he has with his spouse—specifically, his role in emotional support. Consider the more “peripheral” nature of a father’s connection and involvement with a stillborn child. Fathers are generally more capable to offer their spouse needed support and help through the woman’s grieving process. Consequently, this role can be both helpful and hurtful to the husband. In assuming the responsibility to provide comfort and strength, the husband “steps up,” forgetting his own emotional needs and instead focusing his efforts on the mother (O’Neill, 33). This responsibility allows him to avoid, in a way, the severe pain and grief he may otherwise feel.
118 • Stance: Studies on the Family As explained in a systematic review of the psychological effects of stillbirth on fathers, “the social role of fathers as an expected support to their partners may be a contributing factor in the descriptive observation that grief reactions in fathers tend to be less intense than those of mothers” (Badenhorst, Riches, Turton, and Hughes, 254). Although the role of caregiver and emotional support seemingly diminishes the father’s grief, it truly only delays the inevitable grieving process he must go through. Brett O’Neill says that even with his efforts to console and buoy his wife, when the funeral was held for their child, “I couldn’t hold on any longer. It was my time to grieve” (O’Neill, 34–35). Fathers may assume the role of an anchor in a hard time and put on the facade of fortitude; however, the grief and pain still remain, requiring an outlet and consequent shoulder to lean on. Taking a step back from the immediate issue of stillbirth, we see that external and situational modifiers can add to the already present grief (Fenstermacher and Hupcey, 2394). In the case of my brother, many would not know that within the same month his daughter was stillborn he also underwent the trial of our uncle’s unexpected death. These two situations worked to augment the impact of the other, adding to his grief. External factors such as this experience are not always accounted for when looking at someone grieving the loss of their infant. We may not know the financial situation in which someone lives, the lack or loss of their job, problems in marriage, relationship struggles with family members, mental state, or other trials they are facing. These external modifiers—combined with the father’s connection, indicators of grief, and social roles—give a vision of what a father may experience in the scenario of his child’s stillbirth.
Need for Support With a look at the differences and similarities of a mother’s and father’s connection, grief, and role ensuing the stillbirth of their child, two things become clear: 1) Support for both individuals varies depending on their needs and situations, and 2) support, in whatever form it may appear, is needed for both individuals. When we think of a situation involving stillbirth, it is easy to guess the mother will receive the majority of support. There exists in our minds a hierarchy of grief. Support is offered to the bereaved mother instead of, or in greater abundance compared to,
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the father. Therefore, this support or lack thereof may come from a nurse, caregiver, friend, family member, or even the husband. When the father receives attention, however, he generally does not receive direct inquiries about his well-being. According to Steven Stradley, it is almost “socially acceptable to just push past the father and talk to the mother.” This sentiment may hold true in our society, but it should not. A lack of social support actually correlates with a greater intensity of grief (Badenhorst, Riches, Turton, and Hughes, 254). Therefore, in order to mitigate the effects stillbirth inflicts on grieving couples and aid them in coping, support must be offered to both the mother and father to provide an essential positive element in their lives.
How to Offer Support How, then, do we offer effective and meaningful support? Even though the grief parents feel for the loss of their child may never truly end, there are certain things we can do to ease their pain and help them reach acceptance (Conway and Valentina, 55). As Joy Ufema suggests in an article on gently caring for those affected by neonatal death, a physical object to remember the baby often helps give comfort to the parents (Ufema, 66). Being open and available to listen, even without giving specific advice, can also be helpful. We should be perceptive to the feelings of the couple and willing to let them mourn and take their time. Additionally, we must remember to ask the father how he is doing and what he needs, rather than simply asking him how his wife is faring. This support helps show sympathy and care not only for the couple, but for the often-neglected father.
Conclusion This paper addresses the method of contrasting sentiments and responsibilities between men and women regarding stillbirth. This method is used not to distance the two, but rather to unite a husband and a wife. A woman’s connection with her prenatal child is deeper and stronger than a father’s. Equally apparent is the fact that men and women vary in the level of grief they feel and the processes they use in coping with their sorrow. The fact that men and women differ and therefore behave differently is not new. It spans centuries of couples joining in marriage, complementing each other’s strengths, bettering one another’s weaknesses, and
120 â€˘ Stance: Studies on the Family working together. In the case of stillbirth, the same principle applies. The grieving mother of a stillborn child may always need more attention and comfort than the father; however, that does not mean that the grieving process needs to be individually endured. My brother, although he grieved in his own way and suffered periods of feeling isolated, believes the relationship he enjoys with his wife has grown since the stillbirth of their daughter. They learned to grieve together and support one another, bringing not only strength to their marriage but also healing. Along with sharing grief, I suggest that any subsequent comfort, care, and counsel also be jointly shared. Mothers need love and support from family members and friends through adverse conditions. Fathers do, as well. I issue a clarion call to anyone who knows someone affected by the grief of stillbirth; however you choose to lend your support, do not forget to include the fathers.
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Works Cited Badenhurst, William, Riches, Samantha, Turton, Penelope, and Hughes, Patricia. “The psychological effects of stillbirth and neonatal death on fathers: Systematic review.” Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics & Gynecology 27.4 (2006): 245–256. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 March 2014. Cacciatore, Joanne. “The Silent Birth: A Feminist Perspective.” Social Work 54.1 (2009): 91–95. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 March 2014. Conway, Patricia and Deborah Valentina. “Reproductive losses and grieving.” Journal of Social Work and Human Sexuality 6.1 (1987): 43–64. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 April 2014. Fenstermacher, Kimberly and Judith E. Hupcey. “Perinatal bereavement: a principle-based concept analysis.” Journal of Advanced Nursing 69.11 (2013): 2389–2400. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 March 2014. March of Dimes. “Pregnancy Loss.” March of Dimes. March of Dimes Foundation, September 2009/February 2010. Web. 19 March 2014. McColgan, Pamela L. “Perinatal loss: Helping families through stillbirth and neonatal death.” Canada’s Mental Health 37.1 (1989): 22–25. Academic Search Premier. Web. 7 April, 2014. O’Neill, Brett. “A Father’s Grief: Dealing With Stillbirth.” Nursing Forum 33.4 (1998): 33–37. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 March 2014. Saflund, Karen and Wredling, Regina. “Differences within couples’ experience of their hospital care and well-being three months after experiencing a stillbirth.” Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica 85.10 (2006): 1193–1199. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 March 2014. Stradley, Steven. Personal Interview. 1 April 2014. Straker, David. “The Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle.” Changing Minds. Changing Minds, date unknown. Web. 7 April 2014.
122 • Stance: Studies on the Family Ufema, Joy. “A need for extra gentleness.” Nursing 34.3 (2004): 66. Academic Search Premier. Web. 19 March 2014.
This journal includes academic work, creative writing, photography and artwork, and personal essays. Topics, such as same-sex marriage and m...