Monday, October 27, 2014

Masculine Identity in Corrigan

                In the novel, Jimmy Corrigan, author Chris Ware makes a clear argument about masculine identity. Throughout the book, Ware illustrates certain men objectifying women while they converse with Jimmy. I believe that Ware showed the men in the book this way simply because he believes this is how men actually talk about women in real life, and that makes him unhappy. I believe the origins of Ware’s displeasement with this kind of behavior go deeper than what he writes about in this book. I would venture a guess that in Ware’s own life, one or more women he was close to were mistreated or talked about in a crude manner, and writing about and bringing attention to the mistreatment of women is his way of lobbying for better treatment of women and working to end misogyny.
                In the very beginning of the book, Jimmy Corrigan is sitting in the break room of his office eating his lunch. A coworker of Jimmy’s approaches him and begins talking to him. The man assumes that Jimmy is glum by his facial expression and jumps to the conclusion that Jimmy is having problems with his love life. The man begins a rant about how Jimmy shouldn’t let a “bitch” get him down and how his “personal rule” is to “not tell any chick I like her until I’ve fucked her at least six times.” I believe that this man, who isn’t given a name by Ware, is a symbol for men all over the world who consider females inferior to males. Ware believes that men like this perpetuate rape culture and make the world a less than ideal place for women.
                We see another example of this when Jimmy is at the diner with his father eating burgers. His father begins talking about the “little teenage bitch” who works there because she put ketchup on his order even though he asked for “no ketchup.” He talks about her breasts in a crude manner as she is feeding her baby behind the counter. Jimmy’s father is unreasonably rude when talking about this young woman and judges her completely based off of a simple mistake with his burger. I believe that something like this may have happened to Ware. Maybe he had a family member or a close friend who had a baby at a young age and had to work a low-paying job while raising their infant. Maybe Ware overheard someone talking about an actual restaurant worker like this. Whatever the circumstances, I strongly believe that something happened in Ware’s life that made him want to incorporate this in his book.

                Ware makes it clear in Jimmy Corrigan that he strongly supports the equal treatment of women and is firmly opposed to misogyny and men who objectify women. I believe that the reason Ware spends such a noticeable amount of time in this book illustrating men who objectify women is because something happened in his life that affected him or someone close to him personally. Ware believes that men who do things like this do so to protect their masculine identity and ego. These men are afraid that if they don’t assert their dominance that society will view them as lesser.


  1. This essay is very clear in its argument. This argument is that Ware depicts many misogynous men and interactions to critique this type of thinking. Your examples are well defined and also sufficiently explained to support this argument. The extrapolation that Ware is doing this to speak about his own life experiences is not a bad thought. However, it is just extrapolation and all the evidence to support it is purely circumstantial. Therefore, if looking to revise this essay, your first line of attack should be to find some sort of research that may back up your claims, albeit first hand from Ware, or other scholarly reviews that also make this claim, to show you are not an outlier. Overall though, it is a clear concise paper that points out the argument and quickly addresses it.

  2. What you write about in the first paragraph is a speculation. I agree that it’s an interesting speculation, very likely true, and very likely connected to how we should understand the book as a whole - but you need to move it from pure speculation into evidence-supported argument.

    You give two good examples of misogyny in the book. So far, so good. But what does it mean, and why do you believe it? You say “I believe” on several occasions. But your job isn’t to tell us what you believe - it’s to convince us what we should believe.

    You are making an important and valid observation here, and you have details which could be evidence for some argument rooted in those observations. But there’s no real argument here yet - just a guess, and what are we supposed to do with a guess?