Week 2: Bond as a modernist figure

Through the sexist code, Bond is interpreted through his relationship to heroine throughout the films. A “representative of norms of masculinity and femininity”(Bennett 24) is presented through the interactions between the two gendered characters. For instance, in ‘Dr. No,’ Bond leaves his card with Sylvia Trench in order to suggest that she take the active role in pursuit. Here, male masculinity becomes passive; women become magnetized to the nonchalant nature of the smooth agent.

In the imperialist code, Bond becomes infused with the idea of British neo-imperialism and nationhood. Premiering during the Cold War, these films infer “the imaginary possibility that England might once again be placed at the centre of world affairs during a period when its world-power status was visibly and rapidly declining”(Bennett 19).  This reinvented British hero is emblematic of the desire for Britain to regain its global position. Through the respectful language of the ‘colonies’ (‘yes sir’ ‘Captain’), the British Bond is refashioning   the nation in a postwar supremacist position.

            Lastly, the phallic code interprets agent 007 through a set of pseudo-sexual relationships. Bond’s nemesis utilizes masochistic torture as a means of emasculation. Furthermore, homoerotic tension is displayed between evil genius Dr. No and James Bond; this conflict can only be achieved through violent means as No is defeated ultimately by a nuclear reactor.  Loosely defined queerness is punished as to reaffirm the supremacy of heterosexism. 

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