Is mysoginism the main theme?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
User avatar
cristinaro
Posts: 974
Joined: 07 Jan 2018, 03:51
Favorite Book: The Magic Mountain
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 198
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cristinaro.html
Latest Review: RVN by Tim Gingras
Reading Device: B00JG8GOWU

Is mysoginism the main theme?

Post by cristinaro » 01 Oct 2018, 01:04

Apart from Hiram McDowell’s domineering personality, there are many ex and current wives, mistresses or daughters in the novel.

Carole Mastriano is McDowell’s third wife and she has to put up with both his condescending attitude and his infidelities.
Tasha is his stepdaughter who is shown no sympathy when she gets pregnant with McDowell’s son, Billie.
Rima is a nurse from Nepal who accepts to be McDowell’s mistress with no expectations to commitment.
Although unrelated to McDowell, Paige is a woman journalist who needs to fight the abusive behavior of her boss.

Considering all these and more, is mysoginism the main theme of the novel? Is it also the source of conflict and a reflection of an attitude still very much present in society?
"The madness of writing is the antidote to true madness." (Hanif Kureishi)
Latest Review: RVN by Tim Gingras

User avatar
Ruba Abu Ali
Posts: 541
Joined: 01 Jul 2018, 09:47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 82
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ruba-abu-ali.html
Latest Review: Why can't Johnny Just Quit? by Kyle Oh

Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 01 Oct 2018, 09:51

My personal opinion is that mysoginism is strongly present in McDowell's. Is it still present in society? Yes, and its repercussions are, unfortunately, present in society.

User avatar
HollandBlue
Posts: 1538
Joined: 04 Aug 2018, 16:37
2018 Reading Goal: 20
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 230
Favorite Book: The Reel Sisters
Currently Reading: Apollo's Raven
Bookshelf Size: 108
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-hollandblue.html
Latest Review: It's Hard to Be a Vampire by Viktoria Faust

Post by HollandBlue » 01 Oct 2018, 11:38

I think there's also an element of narcissism in the book!
:techie-studyinggray: when I get a little money I buy books; and if I have any left l buy food and clothes
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamas
(1466-1536)

User avatar
Dolor
Posts: 2037
Joined: 07 Nov 2017, 14:41
2018 Reading Goal: 200
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 18
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 140
Favorite Author: Craig R. Key
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 11784
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-dolor.html
Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson
Reading Device: 1400697484
fav_author_id: 115430

Post by Dolor » 01 Oct 2018, 11:44

Misogynism was one of the flaws of Hiram McDowell. The book was centered more on personal and familial issues. I don't think the main theme of the book was misogynism.

User avatar
MagensWife1995
Posts: 45
Joined: 27 Sep 2018, 10:49
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 20
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-magenswife1995.html
Latest Review: Escape by Mark Kingston Levin, PhD

Post by MagensWife1995 » 01 Oct 2018, 13:29

BookReader+6 wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 11:38
I think there's also an element of narcissism in the book!
What makes you think this? I have not read but a few pages so far. Can you give an example? where in this book you see narcissism?

User avatar
Eva Darrington
Posts: 1130
Joined: 18 Nov 2017, 11:21
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 78
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-eva-darrington.html
Latest Review: Tofu From Scratch by Iris Blume

Post by Eva Darrington » 01 Oct 2018, 23:00

I am noticing some misogyny, both in the characters and the narration. Part of misogyny is a hyper-focus on women's body sizes and physical appearances. The author writes about three women in a row, and comments on their weight and appearances. Carole was "flabby now" and wasn't exercising; "Tasha teetered on the cusp of overweight with legs like ice cream cones," then he wonders if she would "splat" another cheerleader; And of Sheryl, "He didn't like the size of her nose with dark deep wells for nostrils. She was a little overweight...." This is just the first few pages of Chapter 1.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

User avatar
gen_g
Posts: 1382
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:31
Currently Reading: Beyond Absolute
Bookshelf Size: 47
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gen-g.html
Latest Review: Sanguine-love by Iva Schubart

Post by gen_g » 01 Oct 2018, 23:02

From the examples listed, it does seem like misogyny is present in the novel. However, I suppose there are other factors to consider, such as the social and the economic. I'm definitely not condoning such sexism - although I have to say that sexism is still prevalent in society today, but in a more insidious manner IMO.

User avatar
gen_g
Posts: 1382
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:31
Currently Reading: Beyond Absolute
Bookshelf Size: 47
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gen-g.html
Latest Review: Sanguine-love by Iva Schubart

Post by gen_g » 01 Oct 2018, 23:03

Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:00
I am noticing some misogyny, both in the characters and the narration. Part of misogyny is a hyper-focus on women's body sizes and physical appearances. The author writes about three women in a row, and comments on their weight and appearances. Carole was "flabby now" and wasn't exercising; "Tasha teetered on the cusp of overweight with legs like ice cream cones," then he wonders if she would "splat" another cheerleader; And of Sheryl, "He didn't like the size of her nose with dark deep wells for nostrils. She was a little overweight...." This is just the first few pages of Chapter 1.
This type of writing honestly puts me off - and in Chapter 1, no less! It's definitely obvious that the narrator/author sees women as objects, and that's rather gross.

User avatar
Eva Darrington
Posts: 1130
Joined: 18 Nov 2017, 11:21
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 50
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 78
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-eva-darrington.html
Latest Review: Tofu From Scratch by Iris Blume

Post by Eva Darrington » 01 Oct 2018, 23:09

gen_g wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:02
From the examples listed, it does seem like misogyny is present in the novel. However, I suppose there are other factors to consider, such as the social and the economic. I'm definitely not condoning such sexism - although I have to say that sexism is still prevalent in society today, but in a more insidious manner IMO.
I think I feel more forgiving about issues like misogyny in literature if it is a character flaw that is written into a character for a purpose that serves the narrative. This is just feeling like an indulgence, if you know what I mean. I haven't finished the book but I'm not sure yet that I want to at this point.
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. -Scott Adams

User avatar
gen_g
Posts: 1382
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:31
Currently Reading: Beyond Absolute
Bookshelf Size: 47
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gen-g.html
Latest Review: Sanguine-love by Iva Schubart

Post by gen_g » 01 Oct 2018, 23:27

Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:09
gen_g wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:02
From the examples listed, it does seem like misogyny is present in the novel. However, I suppose there are other factors to consider, such as the social and the economic. I'm definitely not condoning such sexism - although I have to say that sexism is still prevalent in society today, but in a more insidious manner IMO.
I think I feel more forgiving about issues like misogyny in literature if it is a character flaw that is written into a character for a purpose that serves the narrative. This is just feeling like an indulgence, if you know what I mean. I haven't finished the book but I'm not sure yet that I want to at this point.
I agree with you - I would be more forgiving if it were written in for a purpose, which does not seem to be so in this book. I did hear of the naĂŻve/native mistake that is present in the prologue, so I don't think I'll be picking this book up! :eusa-think:

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 1614
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 115
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and The Sorceress Stone
Currently Reading: Lily White Lie
Bookshelf Size: 513
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson
Reading Device: Huawei

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 02 Oct 2018, 00:35

Hiram is the center piece of this book, and everything that occurred around in this read revolves around him. Gross related details reflects the true nature of a person's character. In saying that, it's important to note that people like Hiram do exist.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid! - Jane Austen :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
Sahani Nimandra
Bookshelves Moderator
Posts: 1614
Joined: 27 Nov 2017, 22:49
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2017 Reading Goal: 5
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 115
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 5
Favorite Book: Harry Potter and The Sorceress Stone
Currently Reading: Lily White Lie
Bookshelf Size: 513
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-sahani-nimandra.html
Latest Review: The Sword Swallower and a Chico Kid by Gary Robinson
Reading Device: Huawei

Post by Sahani Nimandra » 02 Oct 2018, 00:36

gen_g wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:03
Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:00
I am noticing some misogyny, both in the characters and the narration. Part of misogyny is a hyper-focus on women's body sizes and physical appearances. The author writes about three women in a row, and comments on their weight and appearances. Carole was "flabby now" and wasn't exercising; "Tasha teetered on the cusp of overweight with legs like ice cream cones," then he wonders if she would "splat" another cheerleader; And of Sheryl, "He didn't like the size of her nose with dark deep wells for nostrils. She was a little overweight...." This is just the first few pages of Chapter 1.
This type of writing honestly puts me off - and in Chapter 1, no less! It's definitely obvious that the narrator/author sees women as objects, and that's rather gross.
Author may reflects this but that doesn't mean it's not true. William H Cole reflects the reality in man who is a sexist.
The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid! - Jane Austen :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
a9436
Posts: 161
Joined: 07 Jul 2018, 13:18
Currently Reading: McDowell
Bookshelf Size: 71
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-a9436.html
Latest Review: Heartaches 3 by H.M. Irwing

Post by a9436 » 02 Oct 2018, 04:21

It is definitely a major theme in that it seems to be embedded in every aspect of McDowell's life. I have not finished the book and am curious if McDowell reforms himself in this way later on, after re-evaluating life after a fall from grace.

User avatar
FictionLover
Posts: 528
Joined: 16 May 2018, 20:50
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 86
Favorite Book: If life stinks get your head outta your buts
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 151
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-fictionlover.html
Latest Review: How To Develop Good Study Habits by T.G.Dawood
Reading Device: B00HCNHDN0

Post by FictionLover » 02 Oct 2018, 06:47

Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:00
I am noticing some misogyny, both in the characters and the narration. Part of misogyny is a hyper-focus on women's body sizes and physical appearances. The author writes about three women in a row, and comments on their weight and appearances. Carole was "flabby now" and wasn't exercising; "Tasha teetered on the cusp of overweight with legs like ice cream cones," then he wonders if she would "splat" another cheerleader; And of Sheryl, "He didn't like the size of her nose with dark deep wells for nostrils. She was a little overweight...." This is just the first few pages of Chapter 1.
I noticed all that too, and it completely cemented my opinion of not only the character of Hiram, but also of the author. I noticed a similar fixation on women's body size in Mr. Cole's The Spirit of Want, but I think it is much more obvious here because those comments come so close together in chapter one.

Conspicuously absent: a physical description of Hiram.

:(
"I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful." T.S. Eliot

User avatar
FictionLover
Posts: 528
Joined: 16 May 2018, 20:50
2018 Reading Goal: 50
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 86
Favorite Book: If life stinks get your head outta your buts
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 151
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-fictionlover.html
Latest Review: How To Develop Good Study Habits by T.G.Dawood
Reading Device: B00HCNHDN0

Post by FictionLover » 02 Oct 2018, 06:50

Sahani Nimandra wrote: ↑
02 Oct 2018, 00:36
gen_g wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:03
Eva Darrington wrote: ↑
01 Oct 2018, 23:00
I am noticing some misogyny, both in the characters and the narration. Part of misogyny is a hyper-focus on women's body sizes and physical appearances. The author writes about three women in a row, and comments on their weight and appearances. Carole was "flabby now" and wasn't exercising; "Tasha teetered on the cusp of overweight with legs like ice cream cones," then he wonders if she would "splat" another cheerleader; And of Sheryl, "He didn't like the size of her nose with dark deep wells for nostrils. She was a little overweight...." This is just the first few pages of Chapter 1.
This type of writing honestly puts me off - and in Chapter 1, no less! It's definitely obvious that the narrator/author sees women as objects, and that's rather gross.
Author may reflects this but that doesn't mean it's not true. William H Cole reflects the reality in man who is a sexist.
Read the sample for The Spirit of Want. He does the same thing in that book, comparing two sisters to each other followed by a drunk driving scene. Just not my type of 'literature'.
"I love reading another reader’s list of favorites. Even when I find I do not share their tastes or predilections, I am provoked to compare, contrast, and contradict. It is a most healthy exercise, and one altogether fruitful." T.S. Eliot

Post Reply

Return to “Discuss "McDowell" by William H. Coles”