Research Article

The Crisis of Male Identity: A Study on the Masculinity of Sam Sheppard's Fool for Love


  • Meng Ye College of Foreign Studies, Jinan University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China


Sam Sheppard, a contemporary American playwright, is well-versed in the creation of family dramas, and Fool for Love is a good example. Sam Shepard focuses on the conflicts between family members in Fool for Love and describes a pair of half-brother and sister, Eddie and May, who are caught in an unforgettable incest love without knowing it. The male characters in Fool for Love show a series of discourse power relations with women as the mirror center and emphasize the male identity of "the single opposite of women/motherhood". However, male characters who are cheating and violent, such as "absent" father who is free from extramarital affairs and a violent son who is struggling with "incest" relationship, have neither established the positive image of ideal dominant masculinity nor become the "hero son" of mother, and found the "real father". In the social relationship, they also failed to fulfill the authoritative identity of self in the tyrannical behavior and even failed to gain the recognition of male identity in the performance of "non-female" temperament, which ultimately confirmed the lack of self-male identity. Based on the study of masculinity, this paper attempts to explore the causes of the lack of masculinity of father and son in the novel through a close reading of the text of Fool for Love and reveal the identity crisis and gender dysphoria faced by mainstream men in the American social background at that time.

Article information


International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation

Volume (Issue)

6 (10)





How to Cite

Ye, M. (2023). The Crisis of Male Identity: A Study on the Masculinity of Sam Sheppard’s Fool for Love. International Journal of Linguistics, Literature and Translation, 6(10), 07–12.



Paternity; identity; anxiety; masculinity;binary opposition