RARA-AVIS: RE: RARA-AVIS Digest V3 #853: marlowe's homophobia

From: sakana@swbell.net
Date: 30 Aug 2001

> > I'd say it is also a motivating factor in his opinion about homosexuals.
> He is uncomfortable with women who define themselves by their sexuality,
> wouldn't he be equally offended by men who do the same? The
> classification alone means the group is defined by their sexual
> preferences. Add that the main stereotype of gay men, even now, but
> especially then, is that they act feminine and the problem for Marlowe
> becomes that they are nothing more than tarts in male drag.>

i would guess that you'd get a LOT of argument from gay men about your contention that they define themselves by their sexuality. that strikes me as a rather offensive generalization, but i'll leave it at that.

the issue of marlowe's homophobia is interesting to me, particularly in light of his very odd relationship with red in FAREWELL MY LOVELY. the relationship is very brief, but it is arguably the closest one marlowe has in any of the novels. he tells red "a great deal more than i intended," blaming it on his "violet eyes." the interaction, in my opinion, is very much presented as a romance-- two kindred spirits who recognize each other and fall instantly into an uncommonly intimate honesty. i don't suggest for a second that there is anything sexual in the it, but the unexpected, urgent closeness is very unusual in the character, and certainly deserves close examination.

martha sakana@swbell.net <mailto: sakana@swbell.net>

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