Is mysoginism the main theme?

Use this forum to discuss the October Book of the Month "McDowell" by William H. Coles.
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Re: Is mysoginism the main theme?

Post by LV2R » 08 Oct 2018, 20:10

I don't think misoginism is the main theme of McDowell, though McDowell himself did belittle women and seemed to treat some women as a sexual object in the first half of the book. He really wasn't respectful to anyone, man or woman, in the beginning. In the second half of the book, McDowell listens to and seems to respect the women like Maud, Hulga, and Wiona.

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Post by ea_anthony » 08 Oct 2018, 21:23

Dael Reader wrote: ↑
08 Oct 2018, 17:43
There is a strong thread of misogyny in the book. But I think the main theme is narcissism. McDowell is a man who thinks only of himself. Even in the end, he thinks he is just a misunderstood victim who doesn't deserve to suffer the consequences of his actions. Both narcissism and misogyny are still very much present in our society, especially given our current political and social climate.
I think you might be right (I am still reading this novel- not yet halfway), as Hiram not only thinks of himself but is also also fully into himself. You are also right at the current political climate and not only in the US (which I guess you were referring to) but in most corners of the world. I am from Nigeria and mysogynism used to be quite deep seated; it is only now just being identified and discussed here.
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Post by Bavithra M » 09 Oct 2018, 00:10

In my opinion mysoginism the main theme of the book. This novel narrates about Misogynism as one of the major flaws of Hiram McDowell. This book also focuses more on personal and family issues.

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Post by poeticDNA_ » 09 Oct 2018, 02:13

I would say that while misogyny is present in the novel, it is not a main theme, which revolves around a lot other issues.

Personally, I don’t tolerate such in real life, however all characters must have their flaws, I guess...?

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Post by Ugochukwu05 » 09 Oct 2018, 20:58

I would say that while misogyny is present in the novel, it is not a main theme, which revolves around a lot other issues. but it has to do with a proper understanding of the context

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Post by centfie » 10 Oct 2018, 04:22

cristinaro wrote: ↑
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?
Based on this summary, Seems like mysoginism to me. Also, some underlying mental illness. So, is mysoginism a mental disorder? I am going to read this book to see how the author explores this phenomenon.
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Post by jgraney8 » 10 Oct 2018, 19:25

centfie wrote: ↑
10 Oct 2018, 04:22
cristinaro wrote: ↑
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?
Having finished the novel, misogynism seems to be rejected in the second half of the novel. Hiram's main interactions that cause him to rethink his life come with strong women who are not described as especially physically attractive. Also, Sophie comes across as growing in strength of character as the novel progresses. It seems like the author set up an extreme version of Hiram to make the difficulty of his finding redemption more challenging.
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Post by Mich 234 » 10 Oct 2018, 19:58

I do not think mysoginism is the main theme of the book, although there are evidence of it, especially in the beginning. As a matter of fact, I think Hiram's travails could be adduced to the way he treated people generally. So one can safely say he committed the crime, paid the price and tried to make amends. At least if the main character objectified women in he beginning, his encounter with Maud changed all that and he ended up reformed in he end. If anything, the author portrayed mysoginism as being bad.

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Post by Jsovermyer » 12 Oct 2018, 20:42

Mysoginism is a theme, but I don't think it is the main theme. I think the main theme is Mcdowell's self-absorption. He is a narcissist that only thinks of himself.

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Post by Cotwani » 13 Oct 2018, 16:07

I actually thought it was more the author's disposition than the characters. Women were derogatorily described throughout the book. The older ones not currently on a relationship came off as bereft and desperate.
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Post by lesler » 14 Oct 2018, 10:08

I think it is a theme, but not the main one. I think the main theme is Hiram switching between protagonist and antagonist in the book.

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Post by mariahcpeck » 15 Oct 2018, 17:41

I was told once that if a character in literature "enjoys the company of many women," he can't possibly be a misogynist because that means he hates women, and someone who has many relationships with women clearly loves women. I'd disagree with this; McDowell has relationships with all of these different women, but, clearly evidenced by his behavior towards them and general attitude towards women, I'd say he is the image of a misogynist.

And yes, misogyny is definitely a central theme to this book, which is incredibly relevant today as women are ignored, shamed, violated, mistrusted, and disenfranchised every day.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 18 Oct 2018, 05:11

If the book has misogyny, it has misandry, too. Michael, Billie, Charles, Harold and the other men are also given negative descriptions. Obviously, McDowell is portrayed as a heel. I think Dr. Coles' characters are very realistic - with strengths and flaws like the rest of us.

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Post by ianfrb77 » 19 Oct 2018, 19:52

It is definitely part of the book. Mysoginy is a key element in every character's personality. But that's not what the book is about, nor the messaged it intends to transmit.

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Post by ViziVoir » 20 Oct 2018, 13:24

I don't know if I'd say misogyny is the main focus - more that it played a large role, particularly as a part of the overarching theme of loneliness.

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