By Robert Vorlicky
How males speak with one another on degree whilst no girls are present--and what it tells us approximately strength and gender
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Extra resources for Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama
He indeed has free choice. Yet free choice is an illusion for many Mamet characters based on a certain notion of identity quite specific to American patriarchy. What passes as free choice is ideo- logically shaped. The dictates of the impersonal masculine ethos and its social conventions are repeatedly embraced by Mamet's men. Despite voicing his freedom from social constraint, therefore, a Mamet character often contradicts that freedom by reengaging stereotypical action: while he may say one (potentially liberating) remark, he will usually do what he has always done.
Pontificating before Lingk, Roma animates a voice that recalls 42 ï»¿AMERICAN MASCULINE ETHOS, MALE MYTHOLOGIES, AND ABSENT WOMEN other memorable salesmen's voices found in such dramatic land- marks as Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, and Eugene O'Neill's The Iceman Cometh (Bigsby 1985, 113), along with Clifford Odets's Awake and Sing and Mamet's American Buffalo. Roma, like his fellow real estate men in Glengarry, "is the creator of myth whose stories must be compelling if he is to survive," according to Bigsby (1985, 113).
Such a belief feeds Roma's ambitious behavior, which is at once touching in its apparent concern for his fellow man's losses while deceptive in its underlying selfish greed. I have intentionally stressed Roma's maleness to foreground the issue of gender in Glengarry Glen Ross. 2 Frank Rich (1984) and Christopher Bigsby (1985), for instance, col- lapse the characters' gender-coded identities into representations of a non-gender-specific human condition, for the sake of more sociophilosophical, non-gender-related readings.
Act Like a Man: Challenging Masculinities in American Drama by Robert Vorlicky