Study Guide

This Is Where I Leave You Men and Masculinity

By Jonathan Tropper

Men and Masculinity

Judd Foxman feels like a little boy surrounded by men. There's Wade Boulanger, Judd's former boss and textbook alpha male. There's Paul, Judd's older brother, whose picture is printed under the dictionary entry for "jock." And then there's Mort Foxman, Judd's recently deceased father. Mort is the Rosetta Stone for understanding This Is Where I Leave You's perspective on masculinity: he was Judd's masculine ideal, and with him gone, Judd has to learn how to be man on his own terms. What will happen to our fearless hero? Tune in next week! Or, you know, just click on the links.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. Does Mort provide a good masculine role model for his sons? Why or why not?
  2. In what ways does Wade both embody and fall short of the masculine archetype?
  3. Does Judd feel like a man? Why or why not? What would it mean for him to feel like a man?
  4. How do Judd's dreams relate to his feelings about masculinity? Is masculinity something Judd fears or admires, or a little of both?

Chew on This

Many of Judd's insecurities following his separation come from the fact that Wade simply is a manlier dude than he is.

Through characters like Mort Foxman, the novel uses traditional male archetypes—like strength, gruffness, and emotional distance—to define the ultimate man.

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