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Mason, Lizabeth Dutilly. "American Masculinity in Crisis: Trauma and superhero blockbusters." Thesis Master of Arts. Bowling Green State Univ. 2010. 
Added by: joachim (5/30/11, 1:05 AM)   Last edited by: joachim (5/30/11, 1:49 AM)
Resource type: Thesis/Dissertation
Language: en: English
BibTeX citation key: Mason2010a
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Categories: General
Keywords: "Batman", "Iron Man", 9/11, Adaptation, Cyborg, Film adaptation, Gender, Jung. Carl Gustav, Psychology, Superhero, Trauma, USA, Violence
Creators: Mason
Publisher: Bowling Green State Univ. (Bowling Green)
Views: 60/1015
Attachments   URLs   http://etd.ohiolin ... num=bgsu1277140451
This thesis examines the narrative and visual motifs of the three most successful superhero films of the 2008 blockbuster season. Due to their overwhelming popularity, I read the films The Dark Knight, Iron Man, and Hancock as national texts. Building off the work of Benedict Anderson, Susan Jeffords, and Siegfried Kracauer, the goal of this project is to identify the means by which these films help construct a sense of the American national identity in 2008. In order to do so, I employ theories of masculinity and trauma to understand the common tropes of the superhero genre. This genre is defined by emphasizing the narrative convention of trauma as a catalyst for the heroic actions of the protagonist. Visually, these films are rife with the imagery of shattering glass which functions as the “allegorical moment” as identified by Adam Lowenstein because it is reminiscent of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th, 2001. The combination of these visual and narrative motifs within these films creates the dramatic tension for their plots. The means of resolution for this dramatic tension comes through the use of violence that is both retributive and preemptive. Because the three most successful films of 2008 link imagery and narratives of trauma to violent action, it would appear that America not only values but desires such behavior.
All three films are characterized by repetition of visual and narrative motifs of masculinity in trauma, revealing that America, during this period, was concerned with trauma's effect on masculinity. Narratively, vulnerability is the ultimate fear within these superhero films, which show traumatized male bodies being protected by masks, armored suits, and isolation. By situating textual analysis within the context of Presidential election campaigning, this thesis attempts to form an understanding of the psychological disposition of America.

Table Of Contents

Introduction (1)

I. “Holy Masks and Shadows, Batman!”: Jung’s Mask, Shadow, and 9/11 Imagery in The Dark Knight (24)
Introduction (24)
The Shattering Glass (30)
Jungian Psychology: Collective Unconscious, the Mask, and the Shadow (34)
The Modern American Collective Unconscious (35)
Archetypes (37)
The Shadow (837)
The Persona and the Mask (40)
Christopher Nolan’s Batman Series and Jungian Psychology (42)
Batman and the Joker as Jungian Archetypes (44)
The Mask and the Shadow in The Dark Knight (47)
Conclusion (49)

II. “A Kinder, Gentler, Machine Gun Hand:” Iron Man, Post-Trauma Armament Of The Male Body, and the Fight Against Exploitative American Capitalism (51)
Film Synopsis (51)
Shattering Glass and the Hero (53)
Stane vs. Stark (54)
The Origin Trauma and the Male Body Made Vulnerable (59)
Defense of the Body/Cyborging the Body (63)
Stark’s Body and the American Experience … (65)
Conclusion (67)

III. “Call Me An Asshole One More Time:” Hancock And Insidious Trauma (69)
A Brief Summary of Hancock (70)
The Allegorical Moment of Hancock (73)
Trauma and Memory in Hancock (77)
Insidious Trauma (82)
The Signature (86)
Isolation and Liberty (88)
Emotional Dissociation (92)
The Cultural Significance of Hancock (99)
Conclusion (101)

Conclusion (103)
Works Cited (108)
Added by: joachim  Last edited by: joachim
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