Manhood For Amateurs By Michael Chabon

In the book titled Manhood for Amateurs, Michael Chabon contrasts the lifestyle of children who lived in the past and in current society. This contrast enables the author to view modern day lifestyles as less involving and thrilling since children in middle class America have an increasingly organized and home-friendly form of entertainment. This has been shown by changes in various entertainment media over the past few years. For instance, children in previous years enjoyed films such as Star Trek and Planet of the Apes, while children in today’s generation enjoy computer-generated and friendly movies. According to the writer, children in earlier generations enjoyed their childhood more since their environment was more demanding, allowing them to experience more fun as they solve various challenges (Meyers, 2010).

In addition, the author skillfully employs comedy and melancholy to bring about the contrast of experiences in his life. For instance, he said that his wife, “dragged, coaxed, led, stirred, embroiled, mocked, finagled, or carried me into every delight or sorrow, every accomplishment, every brilliant call, and every horrible mistake, that I have acknowledged or made” (Chabon, 2010) to show the happy and sad moments he has experienced on his marriage. This demonstrates his ability to write about topics such as love, memory and regret without becoming cynical or sentimental.

Additionally, the author in the book utilizes descriptive skills to reveal how his obsessive and compulsive behavior has enabled him to work through a myriad of challenges, thus resulting in success. For instance, he says “ I cannot stop trying fixing something that is broken, some lock that is not opening even with the right combination, some computer program that does not run or channel that will not TiVo’ even if it means staying up until four in the morning” (Chabon,2010). This helps young readers to understand that despite the challenges faced in the process of doing an activity, they should not give up. This attribute he relates to an obsessive and compulsive disorder that enables him to write fiction as a problem solving activity.

Helene Meyers, in her work Reading Michael Chabon, (2010) states that Chabon uses various themes in his essays to portray a number of messages. For instance, the author uses the theme of maleness in the forms of boyhood, fatherhood, manhood and brotherhood to show the many stages a man can be expressed in. This theme helps the author to juxtapose his childhood in the 1970s and that of his children in today’s society.

The author uses contrasting words while choosing titles for his books. For instance, in the essay titled The Wilderness of Childhood, the author uses the title to conceal the real content of the essay. This title tries to create a contrast between past parenting regimes and the current regimes when he says that “the alleys and woodlands have been abandoned in favor of a system of reservations — Chuck E. Cheese, the Discovery Zone: jolly internment centers mapped and designed by adults with no bare spots aside from doors marked Staff Only” (Chabon,2005). This quote reveals how parenting in earlier years encouraged discovery through interaction with nature while modern-day societies encourage learning through well-evaluated environments around homes. The essay The Wilderness of Childhood also imprints the author’s nostalgia in regard to his youthful moments to the reader while he relates his past to the current society that offers less interactive and thrilling experiences for the young generation.

Chabon, M. (2010). Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son. London: Fourth Estate.
Chabon, M. (2005). A Model World and Other Stories. New York: Harper Perennial.
Chabon, M. (2010). Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands. London: Fourth Estate.
Meyers, H. (2010). Reading Michael Chabon. Santa Barbara, Calif: Greenwood.
Chabon, M. (2005). The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. New York: Open Road Integrated