Sensitive boys, wounded men : how Australian fiction portrays male transition from childhood to adulthood

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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis contains the exegesis Sensitive Boys, Wounded Men, which looks at the way selected Australian novels and my own novel-in-progress, King of the Road, depict relationships between older and younger males. In particular, it examines the way in which boys are portrayed as emotionally sensitive while the men around them are portrayed as emotionally damaged. It investigates whether one leads to the other and what this tells us about constructions of Australian masculinity. The exegesis considers sociological views of the construction of ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and various analyses of mateship and ‘the Australian legend’, as well as research carried out among high-school students, and then applies these to the fictional works in question. It argues that all of these fictional works propose the idea that sensitive boys will grow up to be wounded men, and that they implicitly question whether this need be the case. This thesis also contains a creative work, chapters one to eight of my novel-in-progress, King of the Road, which illustrates the ideas I explore in my exegesis. The novel centres on 35-year-old David Kingsgrove, who is looking after his 11-year-old nephew, Andrew, when the boy goes missing. The portrayal of David and Andrew, who have formed a strong bond with each other, is reminiscent of the portrayals of the wounded men and sensitive boys in the published works I examine. I demonstrate in my exegesis that the boy-adult portrayals represent two halves of the same person in each work, and that the works suggest the boys will grow up to be their adult counterparts.
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