What exactly makes a man? Could it have anything to do with appearance, strength, or interests? Does it occur at a specific age, or does it happen differently for every boy? Each culture decides these ideas for itself, and the American south is no different. Southern ideals shape a boy’s upbringing and guide his transition to adulthood. The father-son relationship plays an especially crucial role in the development of a white southern man.1 A male’s development has to do with his father’s example—the ideals with which his father raised him. Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird demonstrate this. By comparing the way southern culture has changed over the span of roughly a century, readers can see what exactly makes a male character a man. Ultimately, the southern man is marked by the ideals of strong morals and dedication to family.
Howard, Morgan, "The Making of a Southern Man" (2016). English Class Publications. 22.