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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Subtle Beast:Analysis of "The Open Closet" by Roberta Jackon

Similar to Kenny, coming to terms with Duffy’s suppression of his homosexuality was a struggle for me, but as Roberta Jackson’s claim reveals, the signs are there, they only need to be analyzed and interpreted.
In Jackson’s analysis she uses “The Beast in the Jungle” by Henry James to compare and contrast each author’s look at homoeroticism. In contrast between the two works Jackson states, “The differences in their [James and Joyce] treatment of the ‘beast’ are determined by their individual relation to the overarching patriarchy and its attendant homophobia”(Dubliners 328); the character of Duffy, being in an Irish country, where Catholicism is the dominant religion, has to tame his “beast”. The interaction between he and Mrs. Sinico does a decent job in this task, but as Duffy writes” Love between man and man is impossible because there must not be sexual intercourse and friendship between man and woman is impossible because there must be sexual intercourse”(Dubliners 94); this statement puts Duffy in a compromising position. On one side Duffy is completely isolated and as Jackson states, “Each of his ties with other men…is a tie into the patriarchy”(Dubliners 336); Duffy shutting himself off to the outside limits his interaction with anyone, and this in a way limits his “beast” from being exposed. Prior to reading Jackson’s piece I would have overlooked this, but subtle signs, once analyzed, seem to scream that the “beast” wants to be let out. Duffy’s relationships, or lack thereof, reveal his homosexual tendencies and “open the closet” in a way that does not affect his image in the town or his homophobia.

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