New Fathers? Contemporary American Stories of Masculinity, Domesticity and Kinship
What do novels such as Annie Proulx's The Shipping News, Michael Cunningham's A Home at the End of the World, and Jayne Anne Phillips' MotherKind have in common with films such as Smoke and Mrs Doubtfire?This study explores the intersection of masculinity and domesticity in contemporary film and literature. It argues that these texts, produced since the 1990s, address with some urgency the notion of "new fatherhood" in the United States. They offer explorations of the idea that American fatherhood around the turn of the twenty-first century is changing, and they problematize the legitimacy of "new fathers" and "alternative families" in a national culture where the "old" patriarch and the nuclear family still often loom large in the imagination of many Americans.