How the Sexuality is Presented to Assert the Different Signification of it in Three Short Stories through Comparison Study

Human as man and woman have a sexual urge to physically unite with the same sex, opposite sex, or either sex for releasing their desire which means ‘sense of lust (mid-14c)’ according to Online Etymology Dictionaries or ‘strong wish to have or to do something or want somebody or something very much’ according to Oxford Dictionary. This thing has something to do with sexuality, a thing that always relates to living things; as I looked up to Oxford Online Dictionary, it has three meanings

  1. [mass noun] Capacity for sexual feelings
  2. [count noun] a person’s sexual orientation or preference
  3. Sexual activity

Meanwhile, according to Oxford Dictionary, it means feelings and activities connected with a person’s sexual desires.

I choose three short stories consist of Graham Joyce’s ‘Pinkland’ which is about ethereal lovers described the relation of two main characters, Sammy and Nat, Poppy Z Brite’s ‘Enough Rope’ who told us about a girl who described herself as “a gay man that happens to have been born in a female body, and that’s the perspective I’m coming from.” (1998:18), and ‘Down the Clinical Disco’ by Fay Weldon which is about two person as true love for each other at Broadmoor to analyze the significance of sexuality throughout the stories.

Sexuality is understood differently among the three short stories and I use the comparison study in how the sexuality is presented to see the difference. In my opinion, the showing of sexuality in stories or sexuality as the theme produces sexual desire that later relates the main character with other characters also the sexuality with other things. Read more

Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood as Autobiography

I have read several books and I tend to prefer books about women or whose author is woman than other kinds of book. Bad blood is another woman autobiography which I have just read and I like it. The way the story was told in autobiography is interesting because it is real; there are photos in the book and it was so real that Lorna knew her family history from grandpa’s diary, a text which genuinely was written by grandpa, for purpose that I do not know. We also could know some histories in another place from biography, the writer is the author, and we can both know her /his activity and mind. I as the narrator am first person.

Lorna Sage

What unique about it for me is the central of the story is not Lorna. It is a chapter in Sage’s life about his grandfather and has something to do with her. I reckon that Lorna felt a strong bond between her and her grandpa because she resembled grandpa’s bad sides. On the other side, grandpa is the one who implanted her to like reading. This situation was represented by Lorna’s name which was chosen from blacked-out book by her grandpa.

Grandpa died when Lorna was nine. It such a short time but Lorna seemed so close with him. Her description about grandpa showed two sides. She named his mistakes in having another lover as original sin and called him “the old devil” (Sage, 2000:79), meanwhile she adored his good side in chapter six when grandpa died because of strokes.

I clearly see various marriage lives in Sage in different era. In a range of grandpa and grandma, Valma and her husband, Lorna and Victor. They all have different kind of family problem. Furthermore, the marriage life has relation with the women and children role in this story. Valma and Lorna as mother and daughter have different character. Lorna was a rebel and Valma was a kind of nice housewife; they have different kind of attitude and idea in handling problems. On the other hand, they have similarity; they both “the children of violenlty unhappy marriages” (Sage, 2000:127)

The conflicts in Sage family played the whole story. There are secrets everywhere. There seemed a continuous bitterness from grandpa’s era to Lorna’s era until Sharon was born and she broke the family pattern. I really like the final part when Lorna said, “it’s a good idea to settle for a few loose ends, because even if everything in your life is connected to everything else, that way madness lies”` (2000:281). I agree with her statement that sometime unfinished things, loose ends, and bad decisions make a good story.

Sexuality in Three Short Stories

Another three similar short stories for another week, sexuality or ‘kebirahian’ in Bahasa Indonesia, appears in the surface of each story. ‘Enough Rope’ by Poppy Z Brite is a story about a girl who described herself as “a gay man that happens to have been born in a female body, and that’s the perspective I’m coming from.” (Brite, 1998:18). This statement was told as ‘I’ is an adult writer, but she already noticed her dsyphoria since she was five, according to Brite (1998:17), “and the shock recognition that ran through me at the sight”, then at seven she dreamt about having a dick. It is such an early age for people who realize he/she don’t fit in their own body.  Becoming a man is important for ‘I’ because of the feeling that she never felt like a woman. In Enough Rope, ‘I’ was the narrator and the main character.

Ethereal Lovers described the relation between two characters in Graham Joyce’s ‘Pinkland’, which is Sammy and Nat. The story is told by the third person (omniscient).  There are parentheses to differentiate the conversation on the Net with the conversation in the real world. The characterization in this story slightly puzzling, Joyce described Sammy as a girl by the way she dressed, “Favouring a feminine, clinging satin skirt and wearing a nimbus of flowery perfume” (1997:31). In the other hand she used ‘he’ and ‘his’ for Sammy’s preposition in the end, “Sammy got up from his seat. He tried to offer a handshake”. (Joyce, 1997:43). Joyce characterised Nat in the same way. “The two had been ethereal lovers for almost six months before Nat admitted to Sammy she was a woman” (1997:28) this statement gave an idea that Nat is a woman in the real world who pretends to be a man in cyber. A different kind of Nat appeared in the end of story. When they both finally met, Sammy found out that Nat was a transvestite which shocked him very well.

X: A Fabulous Child’s Story by Lois Gould seems interesting because the idea of the story is not a judgment. It gives a different perspective about having a child and not to decide it is a girl or a boy. The plots flow smoothly following the growth of the child and happen naturally. There are always answers for every question which pop up within.

All of the short stories give different point of view of sexuality. They show what is usually not normal in society, that a man should like a woman and to do otherwise. Then what the impacts for them.

Madness in three short stories

Wrath becomes a major issue in these three stories. The main characters are all women of different ages. As we can see in ‘When I am Bad’, ‘I’ is a 10-years-old girl who suffered from some kind of mental disorder and used present tense in the way she told the story. In ‘Down the Clinical Disco’ by Fay Weldon the narrator is an adult and Linda is the naratee. ‘A Rose for Emily’ by William Faulkner is a story of Miss Emily Grierson which is told by third-person point of view.

Those women experienced different kind of anger. In the first story, the child sometimes became so bad and got bad attitudes. She is the one, who caused the resentment in the family, and as result her parents got angry too. So she is the cause and the receiver of the wrath. It was hard for her to control the anger within because of the sickness she had. We also hard to decide when she was angry and when she was fine because of all her deeds were happened unexpectedly. The father was an ill tempered, he often hit his wife and ‘I’ to wreak the anger. The family pretended to act normal so other people couldn’t notice the madness within.

Because of the affair between the mother and the husband in ‘Down the Clinical Disco’, the main character in this story became mad and did arson to show her bad feeling. The discourse in this story uses past tense. Supposedly, she already out of the Broadmoor with Eddie in some place and told the story to Linda. The madness of this woman caused by other people’s action and diverges from the former story. ‘I’ was fine until she had crummy times at work and home then she blew top. Impulse is a word that she gave to describe what she had done. We can see difference in the way the character had deal with their emotion. Instead of lying, ‘I’ in this story admitted that the arson was her mistake and not an accident. Therefore, she pleaded insane to avoid the Holloway as her barrister suggested.

It hardly to see what Emily did and felt in ‘A Rose for Emily’ because of her rarely action and words throughout the story. The depression began at the time her father died and she was left by Homer Barron. As the consequences, Emily refused to pay the tax; she put her father corpse in the house that made stink until committee persuaded her to bury him. In the end, we figure out that she also set Homer dead body within her house.

These stories show different kinds of human behaviour from negative sides. All the main characters have a deal with their unusual attitude, perhaps people call it madness. They equally effect bad things to other people surround them because of their ill mannered.

Inside and Outside Bodies: Daughter of the House by Michele Roberts

Here is another analysis by me and Faizal Anwar. We discussed about one of Michele Roberts’s work which is Daughter of the House.

Daughters of the House

We looked up at Oxford Dictionaries and found three meanings of body that describe our perception about body related to Therese and Leonie in ‘Daughter of the House’. First, body as a noun means the physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs of a person or an animal. Second, (the body of) body means the main or central part of something, especially a building or text. Third, [mass noun] body means the physical and mortal aspect of a person as opposed to the soul or spirit. In our opinion, these meanings have something to do with both daughters and their relation to each other also to the house.

Physically, there are many kind of women body and it is different from men; the kinds of shape, the sexuality organs, and the phases of the body changing. There are also many parts of women’s body becomes a benefit as their shield or attractive devices which were explained in ‘Daughter of the House’. In Leonie’s case her body is the physical structure; she wants to show her body identity from what other people can see.

Meanwhile, Therese’s body related to her soul, perhaps it is matter because Therese only wants to show her purity through the body in serving for God. The third meaning of body said that it opposed to the soul or spirit, but Therese’s body is her soul.

Both daughters as two different woman and have their own bodies is a single body within the house. They are the body of the house and the body of the text because they are the central part of the story and each thing which was described in every chapter has something to do with them. However, ‘The Words’ becomes the title of last chapter, whereas, the other titles of the chapter are inanimate objects. Word is Logos in Greek which also relates to reason, idea, ratio and those seem to be men’s body (means that words are their authority), meanwhile body as the physical and the soul are belong to women. By means of the using of ‘The Words’ as the last chapter, the women of this story take control of men’s body. They also have the authority of word and speaking.

We saw Therese’s body and Leonie’s body complete each other as the body and the soul. It becomes a complete unity. Perhaps this is why they see their reflection in each other.

Bad Blood by Lorna Sage

Bad Blood

These are responses from me and Iffah Adilah about Sage’s Bad Blood:

  •  How the grandfather’s diaries function as memory works in Bad Blood? [structure]

We knew that Sage used her grandfather’s diaries as the main source of this autobiography since the end of third chapter in part one. After she revealed the diaries, the story started telling grandpa’s secrets, including his sins. Sage brought up the memories by retelling what she read from the diaries. So the memory became vague because her grandpa’s life came into the part of her memory.

  •  What badblood refers to and what it signifies? [symbol]

In our opinion, badblood refers to the Grandpa because Grandpa had many affairs with other women during his lifetime which were called ‘sin’ by Sage. On the other hand, Sage also inherited the badblood because she “had acquired from Grandpa (badblood!) vanity, ambition and discontent along with literacy.” (Sage 2000:130). Blood is an inseparable thing from humankind and it shows the flow within self. As a reverend, Grandpa had done many bad things which shouldn’t be done by him. That is why badblood means howler and he bequathed it to his grandchild and not to his own daughter; because Sage was the only one in that family who had strong bond with him.

  • What ways badblood as the autobiography of Lorna Sage also writes the lives of others? [content]

Sage told her life in narrative which describes the situation of Hanmer at that time. in telling her own life, Sage put the interaction with other people in sufficient detail by telling the names, the places, and the condition. For example, in the beginning Lorna Sage told about her childhood in Hanmer. At this time, she couldn’t avoid to tell about the old Hanmer including the place and society. In the next passage she also couldn’t avoid to tell his grandpa’s lifetime as the autobiography itself consits part of it.

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron

Harrison Bergeron is one of Vonnegut’s science fiction. Science fiction is a speculative fiction and not like the other fantasy works, sci-fi looks forward, really forward. We can see from the setting in this story. Vonnegut takes 2081 as the year, “THE YEAR WAS 2081…” but we do not know the exact or physical place of it. I think this is ‘the unknown’. The story moves only in George and Hazel’s house and in the television studio through their television. In every fantasy works there is an unknown. Human being is always fascinating about the unknown. This is the reason why fantasy appears. The possibilities to make fantasy are still wide and will never ends because of the human’s curiousness will always stay there. The fear of the unknown and the eagerness are the fuel of creating new unknown. People in this era are looking forward in searching unknown because the technology are developing and there will be always some things new to find out or to fancy.

The style of writing in Harrison Bergeron uses past tense because the events are over and the narrator only re-tells it. The story is told by third person omniscient point of view. It knows what happened in both places (George’s house and Television Studio), also knows the character’s thoughts. For instance, it knows what George was thought as “A buzzer sounded in George’s head. His thoughts fled in panic, like bandits from a burglar alarm.” And “George was toying with the vague notion that maybe dancers shouldn’t be handicapped”

One thing that I see clearly in this story is about equality. It is appear in the very first sentence,

“…, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else”. I compare the equality here with the communism by Karl Marx in good general way and communism in Time Machine by H. G. Wells. But then we will see in Harrison’s world the meaning of it is shifting and the old concept of equality was beginning to give way to the new. No longer like the ideal communism. Continue reading

Reflection of FOE by J.M. Coetzee

Foe

After I had finished the book, one thing that interests me is the character which is Susan Barton. She is the ‘I’ and the main character. Susan is the one who tells whole story as the narrator to the narratee, Daniel Foe. She knows everything because she experiences the story and she remembers the treasure of the past. It is proved by the parenthesis which shows that Susan realizes she is telling story and has the right to put something in addition. Narrator doesn’t represent the author because it is a creation.

This book is divided into three parts. Chapter one is told by Susan in descriptive way. She describes all things she saw in the island, what happened there, how they lived, and what she felt specifically. Sometimes I feel bored to read her description. She addressed all explanation to Daniel Foe, a professional writer, in single quote that refers to diacritical marks. The second part is written like letters, she addressed it to Foe too. But the letters seem never been read or received. The last part is more like first person narrative.

Susan has an English mother and a French father. She has an only daughter who is kidnapped by an Englishman and he brought her to the New World. Susan tried to catch her back to Bahia, Brazil. She lived there for two years but it didn’t give any good result. So she made a voyage to Lisbon, Portugal and had a crush with the captain. Soon the crew of the ship mutinied and killed the captain. Then they threw Susan to a boat with Captain’s corpse. One day she drifted ashore in an isle and met Friday and Cruso. It is the beginning of the rest of the story.

Characteristic that I see on Susan is feminine yet masculine. She is so brave that she could survive from whole adventures in order to rescue her daughter. How she can live in Bahia for two years and in an island for one year with only two strangers. As a result, Captain Smith asked her to make a book about her adventures as a castaway. Meanwhile, Susan still shows her feminism side in how patient she was when she took care of Cruso who is sick, and how Susan gave attention to Friday, the slave.

The way Susan tells us her thought and her feeling in the story is so explicit. In my opinion it is her way to keep all memories of the journey, she also longs her story, but then I can’t decide which fact is and which fiction is. She preserves herself and her history in a way she attempts to give voice to Friday.

The Minister’s Black Veil – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Minister's Black Veil

Minister’s Black Veil

Minister’s Black Veil has a lot of prejudices and suspense throughout the story. This short story is a parable and there are many times when Father Hooper says something, he uses word like ‘if’ or ‘perhaps’. It seems there is significance in every word he said.

“If it be a sign of mourning,” replied Mr. Hooper, “I, perhaps, like most other mortals, have sorrows dark enough to be typified by a black veil.”

The way the focalizer describe Father Hooper as a man that rare to talk and to interact with people shows that he has something hidden. Perhaps it has a relation with the reason why he wears a black veil, the black veil that he wears references to secret sin and has a special meaning that no one knows and he tries to conceal his sin from people surround him. When he looks his reflection on the glass, he feels horrible. It shows that Mr. Hooper afraid of his own shadow with the black veil hang on, because it presents the guilty feeling of his sins. Sin is related to death and everybody afraid of death in common. But in the story itself, the thing he tries to hide is never been revealed. Until his death he still not cast away the black veil. It shows how strong he wants to keep his secret sin and there is a deep meaning of the veil.

Instead of try to understand and to accept Father Hooper, people have prejudices against him. Perhaps because Father Hooper actually represents the real people as a human being, the black veil is a symbol which represents the sins in this story, sins that make a huge distance between people with others and people with God. People usually hide their bad deed or thought because they don’t want people judge and avoid them based on their mistakes.

Minister’s Black Veil tells something more than a story. It has a special perspective of sin that covered the whole story. The point of view is through the third person’s eye (covert) which is limited. The story is represented by the parishioner’s side. We pretend being one of them. So we can see many versions of reason, opinion, and prejudice about Mr. Hooper’s vagary. It also cause the story is never untangled and has no resolution because there are problems every time Father Hooper starts to speak. He rare to make a conversation but the veil shows everything. It makes the people are grope for the proper answer what is behind his veil throughout the story. There are many questions pop up in the story but never be really answered. The story continues from one to another analysis.