“Manhood” Isn’t the Right Term, But It’s the First Term That Comes to Mind

“Here I am,” declares Victor Mancini, the protagonist and narrator of Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, Choke, “The backbone of early Colonial America” (25). Victor portrays life as it surely must have been for the hardened men struggling to survive in America during the year 1734. It was a time when men were, as Robert Bly puts it, “Saturnian, old-man minded farmer[s], proud of his introversion, […] willing to sit through three services in an unheated church” (1). But something is amiss. The blacksmith is “ripped out of his mind on ecstasy” and the smell of marijuana is “coming off [the milkmaid] in a fog” (Palahniuk 26). Add to the drug culture that permeates this colony a debauched sexual atmosphere, where the milkmaid is famous for her “great hand jobs” and the king’s constable will let the curious “sniff his fingers”, and it is clear that these are not the stoic, Saturnian men that Bly reminisces for (Palahniuk 26). Continue reading