Name What Makes Leary King? In the book King Leary, Paul Quarrington centers the story on Percival Leary who was once considered as King of the Ice – the best ice hockey player of his time. The book is narrated by Percival Leary himself and now as Leary reminisces his memories as the best ice hockey player and a forgotten legend, readers come to know that his title as a ‘King’ is perceived more as Leary’s tough personality than his extraordinary performance in terms of scores…
Perhaps what really made Leary King is the fact that he has held himself so high in his own mind that he has disregarded comments stating his weaker areas as a hockey player. This notion is emphasized many times as Leary narrates his story when he defeated the previous King, Newsy Lalonde. Throughout the narration, Leary displays feelings of nostalgia as he tries to remember his days at the reformatory with supposedly man monks and his days as the King. As emphasized by Allain, masculinity is an attribute which is often associated with successful ice hockey players however some hegemonic masculinity traits may vary across cultures (464). There are clear notions of masculinity being promoted for ice hockey which Leary establishes as he describes himself as being the “best pup on ice” because he could score more goals (Quarrington, 67). Leary goes on to explain how he “smashed” Billy during a game once and got expelled from the game because he was “much better” than the rest whereas hockey was a team sport (Quarrington, 68). This demonstrates an assertive and aggressive side to Leary’s personality which is typically masculine. As mentioned in Allain’s article, masculinity exhibited in ice hockey is differentiated from the expression of manliness in locker rooms (464). As a result, many minority groups including homosexual men are marginalized by the social interaction which occurs in ice hockey as defined by hegemonic masculinity. Thus, hockey is constructed as a male-oriented sport and the notion is instituted by various social agents and channels. Leary himself affirms the concept of masculinity as he stresses his achievements as the King (Quarrington, 68) in way which is typical of the traits possessed by Canadian Hockey men (Allain, 464). Leary remembers the time when he was found guilty for his crime and was sent to the Bowmanville Annex Reformatory for Boys where he met four monks (Quarrington, 59). This was also the place where he learnt how to play hockey. He remembers the time when he became King of the Ice and overthrew the previous King, Lalonde. Leary describes himself was the “heart and soul of Ottawa Paddies” as he went to play against Newsy (Lalonde) and how his score won them the Stanley Cup (Quarrington, 68). Leary almost got into an argument with Lalonde before his score but the fight was stopped by Manfred Ozikean. As Larry crossed himself he found himself to be scoring a winning stroke which made him the King. This winning stroke also represents Leary’s masculine trait which Allain explained in her article as being performed by demonstrating bravery through confrontations (464) which Leary exercised with the previous King, Lalonde. King Leary presents Leary’s side of the story as he narrates how his arrival at the reformatory for boys leads him towards hockey’s most prestigious title – King. By doing so, he presents his experiences in the reformatory and how the four monks had intrigued him to learn hockey. In 1919 when he enacted his signature move, St. Louis Whirlygig, he found himself to be entering the glorious time of his life as a hockey player. Throughout, the reader gets the picture that Leary has a high ...
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