"No guts no glory": An interrogation of masculinity in Tim Winton's Breath
LE3 .A278 2015
Bachelor of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
This thesis explores the development of masculine identity in Tim Winton’s novel Breath and suggests that a peculiarly Australian encounter with nature is fundamental to the development of gender in Winton’s work. The Western Australian environment becomes a powerful force within the novel, acting as a fundamental outlet for characters to explore and express their gender identities. Through his characters’ interactions with the natural world, Winton reveals the performativity of masculine identities and the possibility for a revisioning of gender ideals. The first chapter explores the intrinsic relationship between individuals, gender, nature, and nation from a theoretical framework examining works by Judith Butler, R.W Connell, and Anne McClintock, as well as non-fiction by Winton himself. Chapter Two focuses on the character of Sando, arguing that he embodies a hegemonic form of masculinity founded upon the domination of nature through increasingly risky surfing expeditions. As a masculine mentor throughout the novel, Sando plays an important role in establishing a masculine ideal for his teenage apprentices, Bruce and Loonie. Chapter Three explores how femininity in the novel is presented in a way that challenges dominant masculine scripts and suggests that gender roles are arbitrary. Finally, Chapter Four explores how the masculine ideal that Sando represents is problematic and encourages Loonie and Bruce to develop a disabling relationship with nature and the people in their lives. In the end, Winton proposes a revisioning of Australian masculine scripts that is possible through nurturing a positive and peaceful relationship with the natural world, and thus the self.
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