Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Joyce's Severe Case of Homosexual Panic

"Since Stannie has been identified as the beast and since he also served as the model for Duffy and is the source for his admission of homoerotic desire, Duffy also becomes a beast that Joyce must drive before him. Joyce must repel the beast. He must claim that the beast speaks a language he does not understand, because knowledge would implicate him in ways that his homophobia cannot permit. As Colleen Lamos observes, to "know about homosexuality is to be its accomplice."" (330)

Joyce, James. Dubliners. Ed. Margot Norris. New York: Norton Critical Edition, 2006.

The above quotation comes from Roberta Jackson's "The Open Closet in Dubliners," where she critiques James Joyce's "Painful Case." I found this particular excerpt to be very interesting as Jackson notes several things that never crossed my mind while reading the story. In the above quote Jackson notes the distinct "homosexual panic" that Joyce seems to be experiencing as he wrote this story. She evaluates it through the words he uses in his work and playing with the often used metaphor of the "beast" that Joyce goes to time and time again throughout his works. Such an analysis never crossed my mind until I read what Jackson had to say. After going back, I agree completely as Joyce uses descriptions such as, "prey to habits," "exotic," and "redeeming instinct," all of which play along with the beast metaphor. However more interesting than this is the notion that Jackson presents that Joyce must "repel the beast." He must do this in order to keep from being seen as a homosexual, because if he were to claim to speaking the same language as the beast, or in the case of the story Mr. Duffy, then he would be admitting to knowing the language of homosexuality which he fears. This again became very prevalent to me as I returned to the story for another look. Joyce does in fact push Mr. Duffy away with the way he portrays him in the text. He outcasts him within the society, and pushes him away from others. Doing this is his way of pushing the beast away, and as Jackson notes, his expression of his own personal "homosexual panic." I found Jackson's article to be very insightful, as she presented many ideas about the story, that I had not originally thought about when initially reading it.

No comments:

Post a Comment