More than ‘rotten apples’: Australian Literature and the Possibility of Redemption for Men who Abuse

Daniel Moss


Popular analyses of gendered violence focus on the need for an individually-focussed approach to the problem which calls for greater responsibility and accountability for individual men. Men who use violence are often viewed as bad apples; or as deviant to the moral codes which are necessary in a moral society. But contemporary Australian authors examine the socio-cultural, political and economic structures that promulgate inequality according to gender, class, age and culture. This inequality manifests in the gendered violence which Christos Tsiolkas, Richard Flanagan, Charlotte Wood, Zoe Morrison and Sofie Laguna portray as a product of neo-liberalism. The men within their fiction are affected by disconnection and individualism within our neo-liberal, patriarchal society. The male protagonists are subjects of, as well as producers of dominant practices of masculinity. Equally, their female characters are not merely passive victims of gendered power as they protest against and challenge the structures that support inequality. Through post-structural analyses which leaves room for contradiction and nuance within characters, these contemporary Australian authors are able to maintain hope for difference and redemption in the lives of men who use violence and abuse, and the women and children who are affected. They consciously avoid separating people in to categories of good or evil, or just and unjust, given that these dichotomies are central to the patriarchal and capitalistic systems of individuality and competition which they critique.


Gendered violence

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