Well, here I am. Back at the class blog. Partially because I believe at some point I fell a blog post behind and am hoping that I can still throw a few points in the gradebook (cough cough Hi Liz cough cough), but also because I just found myself looking over all we’ve gone through in the past semester. With this final post to our lovely blog, I wanted to just point out a small thing that caught my eye in our final days. During one of my last hours sitting in that dark corner and leaning against the brick wall, I found myself flipping through Fun Home. It was something on the very first page in the book that caught my eye and got me thinking. This was the image:
I could be thinking too deep into this, and most likely am, but I started to think about what this picture represents. It is the first page. You open the book, you see this. Before you read the family tragicomic, it probably has no real meaning to you. If I had even taken the time to look at it then, I’d have thought it was just an illustration of a shadowed adult leaning against a post as a child swings around next to them. Nothing special. But after reading Fun Home and learning of the relationship between these two characters, who we can now assume to be Bruce and Alison, this image suddenly has a different meaning to me. As Alison Bechdel illustrated through her graphic novel, the childhood relationship between the father and daughter was a strained one. Bruce was a distant father and Alison compares the children to furniture in the house. However, I think that she was wanting that close relationship with him all along. There’s the instance on page 19 where she tries to show some affection by kissing his hand. After reading her story, I see this image as Alison quite literally leaning toward or gravitating towards her father in search of that relationship and affection. She’s holding onto the post, anchoring her where her current fraught relationship is with him, but she is leaning in for more.
Before I began reading Act 1 of Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, I did a little bit of google searching and came across this still from the 1958 film adaption. I didn’t really think anything of it until after I finished reading. Looking at it now, I think that it perfectly illustrates the relationship between Brick and Maggie. There seems to be a disconnect and tension between the two characters. From Brick’s comments to Maggie’s overall disappointment, it is apparent that their relationship isn’t a happy one. I guessed that it might be the case, but as we get deeper into Act 1 it seems to become more apparent that Brick may be gay. When Skipper is brought up, he reacts in a strange way. He seems to have no interest in Maggie, or his relationship with her for that matter. Things just don’t seem quite right. I think that after Skipper died, Brick gave up caring about anyone. I’m looking forward to learning more about his relationship with Skipper. As I read, I began to feel sorry for Maggie. She seems to be trapped in this relationship, or lack thereof, with most of the blame being pushed her way. Do you feel sorry for Maggie? What do you think of her situation? Do you think that Brick is gay, or at least had some sort of feelings for Brick?
As Chloe pointed out in her last blog post, I too had an immediate reaction to the title of Lolita in itself. When we were first discussing books we would be reading, I did a little research on it. I was curious why the boring, innocent name of Dolores would be ignored for the exotic, exciting name Lolita. Throughout the reading I have discovered a theme of not innocence, but really the lack of it. Right away, there is a 12 year old girl. Her youth should represent innocence. However, she is described by our narrator as not a virgin and seductive. It’s his claim that she came onto him. Although this is coming from an unreliable narrator, what does he want us to think of little Dolores? As I mentioned, youth naturally goes along with innocence. However, we are being shown a different picture of this 12 year old girl. Throughout the reading Humbert never claims that he is innocent, but he never takes the blame for things. He always has a reason for what happened, but it often is blamed on the other person involved.
I’ll leave you with a quote that stood out to me and a final question. This can be found in chapter 5 on pages 19-20.
Humbert tried hard to be good. Really and truly, he did. He had the utmost respect for ordinary children, with their purity and vulnerability, and under no circumstances would he have interfered with the innocence of a child, if there was the least risk of a row.
Humbert would under no circumstances interfere with the innocence of a child, if there was risk of getting caught. Do you think that Humbert has respect for others? When he sees innocence in someone, is there respect given or does he prey on it?
As mentioned by several posts earlier, I began by reading Sedgwick’s piece which I felt was a great lead up to Percy’s “Refresh, Refresh”.
As I read Sedgwick’s work about the homosocial desire, I couldn’t help but think about the word “brotherhood”. It’s considered alright to have that male bonding, but there’s a fine line that crosses over into homosexuality. Society wants it stay on that brotherhood side. This could be seen later on in Percy’s “Refresh, Refresh”. Josh and Gordon were best friends and formed an even stronger bond after both of their fathers left to join the military. While they spent all of their time together, homosexuality was never brought up. They spent their time doing masculine things and visibly staying on the “safe” side of the homosocial spectrum. However, although their feelings for each other were never spoken, you could get sense of the strong relationship between each other. The best example of this is when he says that he could just tell that his friend needed to let his anger out and punch something. He stands there as a literal punching bag until his friend feels better. You don’t just do that for anyone.
As we discussed this in class and I thought about it a little more, I was also reminded of the phrase “no homo” that ran rampantly through middle schools and high schools in the past few years. Growing boys would find it acceptable to compliment another guy or say something positive, but as long as nobody took it as a homosexual comment. It’s an example of the fine line between homosocial and homosexual among men.