Friday, June 3, 2011

Is Paul Gay?

Philip gave very good arguments for why a historically informed reading would answer in the affirmative. More naively I wondered whether Paul's "shadowed corner, the dark place into which he dared not look" (sixth paragraph after his escape to New York) might not be his homosexuality. Some handwaving at the time, about Freud (whom Cather would have had to have been very au courant in 1904 to have even heard of) seemed to place that off the table. But looking over "Paul's Case" again—I find it endlessly re-readable, the details are so apt—I notice on the next-to-the-last page, when Paul is planning his suicide, this passage:

Yet somehow he was not afraid of anything, was absolutely calm; perhaps he had looked into the dark corner at last and knew. It was bad enough, what he saw there, but somehow not so bad as his long fear of it had been.

Now the thing in the dark corner might be anything I suppose, but I can only think of homosexuality. If no one can offer anything else, our answer to the opening question has to be, once again, in the affirmative.

1 comment:

DCSteve1441 said...

A sensible reading, Tim. I concur!