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Case study of Lennon offers evidence of change (Released: 11/13/95)

by Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- A case study of John Lennon's life offers evidence that he was changing as a man and dealing with his masculinity at the time of his death.

"It was evident in his fathering roles, his renewed relationship with Yoko Ono and his redefinition of success," says James O'Neil, a University of Connecticut professor of family studies and educational psychology who authored the case study.

O'Neil reviewed 10 books, scores of journal and magazine articles and examined Lennon's own writing. He analyzed all of Lennon's music from "Love Me Do" to the "Double Fantasy Album."

"Lennon's personal struggles, such as his restrictive views of masculine and feminine behaviors, his macho stance and pain, and his anger and jealousy are expressed in the lyrics of his music," O'Neil says. But Lennon did change, according to the researcher.

"Lennon was killed just at a time when he was beginning to blossom into a new kind of man, as he redefined his masculinity," O'Neil says. Lennon died Dec. 8, 1980.

O'Neil, who teaches courses in men's studies and gender issues, uses Lennon's case study in his classes to show how men can change and deal with their gender roles. He hopes the six-hour documentary on the Beatles to be aired on ABC Nov. 19, 22 and 23 will offer some new information that he can add to his case study.

O'Neil was named a 1995-96 University of Connecticut Teaching Fellow for excellence in teaching and dedication to the profession.

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