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The Blooding Student Response
The Blooding Student Response

Yr 10 student response to The Blooding question below.

"The Blooding supports traditional understandings about what it means to be a woman and a mother, but disrupts understandings about what it means to be a man and a father. The beer-drinking Australian male stereotype is challenged, and the reader is invited to question the version of masculinity at its base. Discuss. "

The Blooding
by Peter Goldsworthy

The Blooding supports the stereotypical female role as the housewife, however it challenges what is seen to be the stereotypical Aussie male. In the passage, the father does not display any of the usual fatherly characteristics seen today as being normal.He is cruel, heartless, dishonest and abusive to everyone and  he has no feelings for anyone.. He is probably an alcoholic and sees everyone else as inferior to himself. He is selfish and manipulative.

Masculinity in the Aussie male is a changing concept in today's society. As Australia has become a more modern nation with a large cultural mixture of people the view of what makes a man has changed much. This man "Abbot" is   loud  and obnoxious, enjoys outdoor activities, drinks beer  and doesn't  show love or sentimentality. Some people would believe that these characteristics are what creates a real man.  Traditionally, Aussie men are seen to enjoy a drink but this man goes too far. He doesn't drink for pleasure but drinks to boost his image. Aussie men also are meant to be good at sport and show good sportsmanship. Abbot enjoys sport but he lacks the qualities to be a good sportsman. He attends the games, not to support his team, but to pick fights and hurl abuse. This further boosts his self image. The Aussie image of a good father is one who teaches his sons by good example. However, he is no father and his own son couldn't even bring himself to call him Dad.  Abbot can't teach the son to be a man if he is in fact, not truly a real one himself. He shows what he thinks is a man, the essence of being a man (himself and his thoughts.) He thinks that he is some sort of  a God, a perfect man and so speaks of himself in third person. This view  is challenged by the son who sees through his father's attitudes and shows us that he isn't what a man is supposed to be. The son believes a father should be a caring and kind teacher. One who teaches equality and fairness, one that doesn't believe in only material wealth and understands and accepts other people's feelings and values.

So what is the essence of being a man? Is it to be a strong, confident leader who is in his element, no matter where he is or what he is doing? A tough, heartless ruler that thinks he is superior and doesn't ever do anything wrong or is it a kind understanding man that doesn't care what people think of him as long as he is doing what he thinks is best for everyone.

Abbot is the tough, heartless ruler. He shows no outward concern to what others think, but does he really not care? If so, why does he make his son, the person who is meant to be almost closest to him, call him sir except to make himself  seem more powerful and have more respect? And why does he spend most of his waking hours drinking except to hide his insecurities and feelings? Also, whilst a person is drunk he can get away with saying things and acting differently than his normal mask. Abbot's passion for the greyhounds is not about fun or raising a dog or pride in achievements - it's about making money and reputation. He has no sentimentality towards animals and won't even keep his son's dog for more than a year.  This is providing a very bad example and so has deluded his son's view of sport. For all his acts, views and reputations he has not shown in any cases to be a mentor. And so he can't even teach his own son to be like himself as he is just wearing a mask.

The son, is an example of a kind, understanding man. He feeds his dog good food and is kind to it and he tries to make it happy. In reality, he may be more of a man than his father ever was. He sees beyond people's masks and enjoys simple things. He is honest and kind and seems to think of things being more equal to people than his dad does. However, this doesn't fit the normal stereotype of a man. Men are meant to be strong and not show emotions so does this make the son not as manly as his father? Nowadays, society has become much less prejudiced and accepts a wide range of attitudes as being manly. So now, there is a more wide view of what a man is meant to be like. Whether a man is a rugged outdoor type, a party going, fine dressing pimp or a serious minded accountant, they are still accepted to be men as long as they have the right qualities. These qualities are generally such things as honesty, strength of mind, giving others a fair go and have a good strength of character. They won't change just to fit in.


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