Cult of Masculinity in "In the Country of Men"

Topics: Gender, Marriage, Man Pages: 3 (1161 words) Published: July 19, 2013
"In the Country of Men"
The Cult of masculinity

In the book "In the Country of Men", Hisham Matar, the author discusses his childhood experience in the 1970's during the revolution in Libya. The time when men overpowered and completely dominated women. The title itself describes Libya as a country that belongs to men where women are used like tools. We see that Suleiman wants to become a man as soon as possible through the story but on the other hand, the story also talks about a female being Suleiman’s mother - Najwa who thinks she lost her freedom when she was just 14 and had to get married. However, after all the development from the 1970’s till today, the current generation considers both men and women equally powered.

Right from the starting, it can be predicted that Suleiman wants to be a man. When baba goes on the so called “business trip”, Suleiman is the only male in the house making him the man of the house. It is just the way how baba says it every time he leaves - "Take care of your mother, you are the man of the house now" (61). Suleiman handles these responsibilities very well. He takes care of his mother as he knows very well that she is ill every time baba is not home and wants to take over a men's responsibility of taking care of his mother. He even talks about him willing to take responsibilities like his father and be just like him, a man. Later in the story, we also see the cult of masculinity urge through Suleiman when he and the other neighborhood kids were at Adnan’s house to look at him inserting an injection in himself due to his illness. "I also prayed for a disease that would give me what Adnan had" (126). Suleiman thinks that Adnan’s disease makes him seem older and more independent like a man. Thus Suleiman wants to have Adnan’s illness so that he too could be like a man. "I couldn’t wait to be a man" (148). Suleiman’s words prove how he wants to become a man and does not want to fall into kid’s category.

However, on the...

Cited: * Matar, H. (2006). In the Country of Men. New York: The Dial Press. Print.
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