Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8bljj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-22T04:18:25.864Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter Four - Toxic Neo-Gothic Masculinity: Mr. Hyde, Tyler Durden and Donald J. Trump as Angry White men

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 February 2022

Get access

Summary

Michael Kimmel's analysis of the causes of white male violence in his book Angry White Men (2013) paints a portrait of aggrieved white American masculinity that highlights the continuities and divergences between two fictional examples: Mr. Hyde from Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (2015 [1886]) and Tyler Durden from Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club (1996) and David Fincher's film adaptation (1999). The cultural and historical forces that elicited aggressive responses from white males differ in each case, but they are united by an ideology that assumes anger and violence to be integral traits of masculine identity. The commonality between these texts lies in a combination of class, race and gender identifications, particularly that of angry, white, conventional male masculinity. This neo-Gothic genealogy of toxic masculinity can be traced from Mr. Hyde to the election of Donald J. Trump through the link of Tyler Durden and the term “snowflake” which has become the insult of choice for angry white men in the twenty-first century.

The Gothic as a popular literary genre taps into the fears and anxieties of its time, and both Jekyll and Hyde as a late Victorian “shilling shocker” and Fight Club as a neo-Gothic text explore the threat of male violence. In both texts the fear of the loss of male hegemony leads to outbursts of violence against perceived threats from other social groups. Both Mr. Hyde and Tyler Durden (especially when played by Brad Pitt in the film version) are attractive figures for men in that they present violent solutions to a loss of male hegemony and present violence as a response to loss of status. For Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde represents a change of class status as he loses his professional designation as a doctor and becomes a mere “Mister,” while for Durden and members of his club, violence functions as a compensation for the loss of “manly” occupations and their replacement by work in the service sector.

These angry white men also illustrate the differences between two terms that are widely used in masculinities studies, namely, “hegemonic masculinity” and “toxic masculinity.” White, upper-class men are hegemonic in Jekyll and Hyde while women are marginalised.

Type
Chapter
Information
Neo-Gothic Narratives
Illusory Allusions from the Past
, pp. 57 - 74
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×