Study Guide

Jaws Men and Masculinity

Men and Masculinity

Jaws, as you may have noticed, is a story of men. Sure, there are women in Amity, but the film focuses on the guys, and each bro brings his own brand of masculinity. There's Chief Brody, the regular family man with a badge and lots of failings; Mayor Vaughn, the patriarchal town father; Hooper, the cocky, intense science guy; and of course Quint, the fiercely independent, crazy old sea dog. A lot of the male characters seems to have an inflated view of their own abilities and there's plenty of competitiveness in the air. Pay particular attention to how the men deal with conflict—man vs. society, man vs. man, man vs. nature, etc. Oh, and they always call the shark a "him," for whatever that's worth.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. What would have been different if one of the shark hunters were a woman?
  2. Whose masculinity is most challenged in the story?
  3. Only Brody has a relationship with a woman. Did the story require that Quint and Hooper be unattached?

Chew on This

In Jaws, Stephen Spielberg shows that shark-hunting is a man's job. All women do is worry.

The three male characters are always subtly competing to see who is the most macho.

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