Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Joshua Garstka


"Wayward Masculinity and the Search for Authenticity throughout the Sixties"

John Updike's novel Rabbit, Run (1960) and Mike Nichols' film The Graduate (1967) epitomize the tendency of 1960s American literature, both written and cinematic, to re-establish the quest of the modern man. Though post-war years emphasized nuclear family values, both of these texts offer insight into how the masculine culture shifts toward maverick individualism and disregard for the older generation. As the counterculture gains authority and film censorshop dissipates, these protagonists distance themselves from institutional behavior in search of a clear identity, a search that continually moves away from social norms without defining what it moves toward.