Society was based on a patriarchal system in the Victorian Era. Even though women were expected to be in the home and supervise all the servants the household authority "was a pyramidal structure with the father at the top (Tosh, "A Man's Place", 25). Female ideals were taken from the upper class, and masculine ideals were also reflected with that standard. Among the traditional masculine roles are: gentleman, prophet, priest, and soldier (Adams). But what is a gentleman? During this era, society allows men to qualify for the title 'gentleman' rather than just inheriting it from birth; however, because of this masculinity and gentility are expected to be the same thing—to be a proper man you should be a gentleman. John Tosh defines masculinity, or gentility, as both a psychic and social identity. Masculinity is a psychic identity because the “subjectivity of every male” as masculinity “takes shape in infancy and childhood” (Tosh, "Historians with Masculinity", 198). It is a social identity because masculinity is “inseparable from peer recognition” and also “depends on performance in the social sphere” (Tosh, "Historians with Masculinity", 198). This blurs the lines even more in defining a gentleman through proper masculinity. "If" by Rudyard Kipling defines characteristics of masculinity so that boys can grow up to be men. However, “If” sets up a characteristic and then limits that characteristic in a way that logically seems contradictory. For example, “trust yourself when all men doubt you, / But make allowance for their doubting too” (Kipling, 3-4). So when everyone doubts you, trust yourself and do not yield. But when everyone doubts you, listen to their opinion and yield. Easy enough, right? The characteristics are very ideal Christian values as they stride toward perfection. However, the poem ends with, then “…you’ll be a man, may son!” (Kipling 32). This almost leaves a sense of desperation because you cannot be a man until you master all of the characteristics in the poem. You are so glad that you have the key to becoming a man and then you realize that it is unattainable. Crushing limitations weigh down upon masculinity as society expects perfection from men. 

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