Study Guide

Crash Men and Masculinity

By Jerry Spinelli

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Men and Masculinity

Crash is a dude's dude. A bro, even. He's a stereotypical football player who loves to get in fights and mock the weak. He thinks he's God's gift to women, football, and maybe just the world in general. You know the type.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Penn, who's into nonviolence and cheerleading. He's the object of a lot of teasing in Crash because of it, but on some level, our main character—ahem, Crash—seems to really be afraid. He says some pretty mean things about Penn, but the novel's positioning of Crash as a bad guy means that we're supposed to question his rudeness, not endorse it.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. Who seems the most secure in their masculinity: Crash or Penn? Explain your answer.
  2. Crash and his father come down pretty hard on Penn for being a cheerleader. Are their views sexist? Homophobic? Both? Neither? Explain your answer.
  3. What similarities do you see between Mr. Coogan and Scooter?

Chew on This

Crash's characterization upholds gender stereotypes surrounding men and masculinity.

Penn's characterization busts gender stereotypes surrounding men and masculinity.

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