MINOR MALE CHARACTERS
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MINOR MALE CHARACTERS book
Just as any understanding of the patterning of generic femininity cannot be restricted to a survey of the heroines, so too our complementary study of the construction of masculinity requires more than an appreciation of the workings of novelistic ‘heroism’ alone. So far little scholarly attention has been paid to how the minor male characters as a group may inform our understanding of normative behaviours. Instead the academic spotlight has fallen on characters such as Kalasiris (Winkler 1982, Futre Pinheiro 1991 and Levin 1992), Knemon (Morgan 1989), Hydaspes (Rogier 1982) and Hippothoos (Alvares 1995), figures felt to be pivotal to a full understanding of a particular text. I believe that a complete study of the male subsidiary characters is essential for our comprehension of gender functioning in the genre as a whole. If, as I have posited, gender functions as a relational sign system, then an exploration of privileged male behaviours, and the value accorded to certain male roles and types, is needed in order to situate and evaluate the formulation of femininity. It is also important to remember that masculinity itself does not function as an uncontested discursive site, even within this genre. If the heroes appear to deliberately subvert traditional expectations of male behaviour, then it seems sensible to ascertain the extent to which these expectations actually surface in the representation of more minor characters. The intersecting factors of class, race and age will also be considered as integral components in the genre’s formation of masculinity, and discrete differentiating markers of what ‘male’ might come to mean in any given context.