In an important essay, Melody Graulich notes how "rigid dichotomizing of sex roles" in most frontier myths ha
ve "often handicapped and confused male as well as female writers” (187) , she wonders if a "universal mythology" (198) might emerge that is less confining for both of them.
mMason, Wallace Stregner seems to experiment with this idea ; acknowledging the power of Bo's male fantasies and Elsa's ability to teach her son to feel. It is his strength. On the other hand, Bruce’s brother Chet, who dies young, lost and broken, seems doomed because he lacked sufficient measure of both the feminine and masculine. He observes that Chet had “enough of the old man to spoil him, enough of his mother to soften him, not enough of either to save him” (Big Rock, 521).
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