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Monday, April 5, 2010

Heterosexual Tension in Joyce's "A Painful Case"

Although I did agree with much of Jackson’s biographical analysis, I have a difficult time reading the story as Duffy being a closeted gay. Other than the obvious sexual statements and rejection of Ms. Sinico, Duffy nor Joyce never imply homosexual tension within Duffy. Most of Duffy’s thoughts and actions in the story are of a level of ambiguity that hint at, but cannot be certainly interpreted as Duffy being a closeted gay. Jackson’s obvious reading of “Love between a man and a man…” line bothered me because I think Joyce was trying to display why men are simply friends and men and women can rarely be just friends. Heterosexual tension is the underlying theme of the story. From Ms. Sonico’s sexual touch to Duffy’s epiphany of love, the story shows me no more proof of homosexual tension and closeted gayness than it does heterosexual tension. And because of both Duffy’s and Ms. Sonico’s actions, I have to read to the side of heterosexual tension.

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