Cristobal, Donald E.
“The Roots of Fear & Paranoia”
In Metalious’ Peyton Place, it elaborates on the complications of a small town city in New England during the late 30’s into the early 40’s. It highlights the trials and tribulations for the females in Metalious’ Peyton Place revealing their adversities of their everyday struggles. It also displays the role of a few good men in Peyton Place and the effectiveness of their overall solution driven mentality affirming their relevance for the structure they bring to the story of Metalious’ Peyton Place. There are the males whom play horrible role models to the youth among them such as Lucas Cross and Kenny Stearns with their exploited bad habits or Leslie Harrington with his stingy selfish attitude, but there are also the good men that act with prosperity and virtuous intention such as Dr. Swain, Seth Bushnell and Tom Makris. The struggle of manhood and sexuality in Peyton Place doesn’t seem to be much of a problem, aside from the typical male teenager figuring out sexual intercourse acts, as oppose to Mayer’s Blade to the Heat, where the main focus in the play seems to be the sexuality of the males. Boxers Mantequilla Decima and Wilfred Vinal extrude their take on sexuality trying to “strengthen” their manhood by presenting a masculine image as “machismos,” while Pedro Decima remains oblivious to the matter, but regardless is still caught in a sexuality trap. Although they are the focal boxers in the story, there is Jack, Pedro’s trainer whom acts as leader to the five star fighter. Jack boosts Pedro’s self-esteem and builds his selfhood. In these two stories they both relay an image of what a can man be, what a man is supposed to be, and their roles to their surroundings and community.
Doctor Swain for instance, acts in the overall good intention of the town to protect and literally heal all those who come in his way. Although it is his role to heal and protect the lives of his patients, he shows genuine care and does the best of his ability to provide the best assistance to anyone in the town of Peyton Place. These virtuous traits are immediately introduced during the beginning of Peyton Place when he speaks up with Seth Bushnell to Leslie Harrington about the sanitation of those living in the shacks, “It’s only a matter of taxes and the fact that’s those places are eye sores. They’re cesspools, as filthy as sewers and as unhealthy as an African Swamp. I was out to another shack last week. No toilet, no septic tank, no running water, eight people in one room and no refrigeration. It’s a wonder that any of those kids ever live long enough to go to school.” (Metalious 23) In this excerpt, Dr. Swain demonstrates his campaign for the overall health condition of those whom reside in the shacks, also understanding the main labor force of the town live in these shacks. He continues to illustrate their horrid living conditions and its need to be reevaluated for better living conditions, emphasizing the overwhelming amount of the town’s children that live in these homes. His care and compassion for the town in which he too was bred and fed throughout his life, was subconsciously and naturally revealed through his everyday actions. To depict another example of Dr. Swain’s list of noble actions is towards the end of the book, when Selena is having a trial whom is prosecuted for the murder of her step father Lucas Cross. Dr. Swain stands before the court revealing the story of Selena’s abortion to Lucas Cross’ seed, knowing very well that it would not only jeopardize his license, but possibly put himself in prison for life or even death penalty. Although she is completely guilty of her prosecution, Dr. Swain understands the trigger to this action of Selena and feels it is justified. He confesses his affirmative action of the abortion for seed of Lucas Cross and explains the dire reason to perform such a task with the crucial fact...
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