"Casey at the Bat" is more than just a baseball poem. It's a veritable laundry list of typical, socially-valued masculine qualities. Casey has got 'em all. From his physicality to his demeanor, Casey is 100% a stud. This guy was born to be a hero. If you met Casey on the street, everything about the guy would scream winner. This makes his ultimate failure even more surprising. We guess it's true what they say: you can't judge a batter by his swagger.
Questions About Men and Masculinity
What qualities does Thayer give Casey that make him seem especially masculine or alpha-male-ish? Are these good qualities? Why or why not?
How do Thayer's descriptions of the crowd or other players help to emphasize our sense of Casey's studliness?
Does Casey seem to become more or less masculine as the poem progresses? Does Casey's ultimate failure make him any less manly? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Is "manning up" all that it's cracked up to be? By giving Casey all the qualities of a hyper-masculine sports hero and then having him fail, Thayer questions whether or not those traits truly lead to success. He's asking whether or not the high value society places on those traits is justified.
Baseball shmaseball—"Casey" is all about revenge. As a reporter, and not an athlete, Thayer has Casey fail as a form of retaliation for being habitually picked last in PE class (or some similar life trauma).