In Robert Olen Butler’s “Jealous Husband Returns in Form of Parrot,” the narrator attitude towards masculinity changes when he was a man he was aggressive, competitive with other men, and he did not express his feelings but when he becomes a bird he becomes more vulnerable, less aggressive, and wants to speak but cannot. Once he becomes a parrot, he beings to realize how he was wrong as a man and all he wants to do is tell his wife that he is sorry but he cannot because he is limited with his words.
Even with the narrator’s lack of communication and fears of losing his wife, he seems as if he wants to talk but will not because he was afraid of rejection and would not want to show his vulnerabilities so instead he says he will hold his tongue half the time or lock himself in the bathroom to get away. For example, “I felt like a damn fool whenever I actually said anything about this kind of feeling and she looked at me like she could start hating me real easy and so I was working on saying nothing even if it meant locking myself up.” (Butler, 767) When he was human he was afraid and just locked himself away, but how as a parrot he is forced to live in his prison but wants to communicate with her with his limited vocabulary.
As a man he was afraid to state how he felt and he was very insecure which made him aggressive and competitive with other men. He is jealous of the man that his wife is with now because unlike himself, when he was a man he did not have any hair like the “meatpacker”, “…a meat packer big in the chest and thick with hair.” (Butler, 767) Having hair is extremely important to him because having hair is a sign of masculinity.
Many men believe that for them to be seen as a strong masculine man they have to oppress their feelings. “Fatherhood 2.0,” by Lisa Takeuchi and Lev Grossman they proved a point that it is okay to be expressive. Traditionally the father figure in a family was seen as very strict, mean, and not so...
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