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Americas Ignorance

Americas Ignorance

America’s Ignorance

For centuries now, men and women have struggled over their sexuality. It has been noted throughout time that several well known and highly regarded historical figures have been free with their sexuality on both sides of the spectrum. Basically, homosexual tendencies have been accepted as a normal part of life in that it has never been regarded as wrong. Only now in our new environment as Americans does the idea of homosexuality bring uncomfort and distaste to people. In fact, American has almost pushed the homosexual populous underground where they now reside as somewhat of a subculture. Americans have put a huge strain on the gay community by persecuting them and demanding that their way of life is wrong. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in the middle class American society; at least it was a lot more in the past. The novel Giovanni’s Room, written by James Baldwin, depicts a young man caught in the troublesome situation of being a gay American in the middle twentieth century. The character, David, accepts his homosexuality as a boy, but soon learns that his sexual behavior is highly frowned upon by most Americans. With this understanding of homosexual resentment in America, David sets off for Paris in search of an escape from the turmoil’s that lay at home. David cannot and does not accept his homosexuality because of the ingrained middle class American attitude towards homosexuals.

David’s father, although not resentful of gay people, wants David to become a man. A man in the classic sense of a man, and certainly not a homosexual man:

‘And listen,’ said my father suddenly, from the middle of the staircase, in a voice which frightened me, ‘all I want for David is that he grows up to be a man. And when I say man, Ellen, I don’t mean a Sunday school teacher.’

David’s father was not suggesting that David was not a man, but our society has set forth preconceived notions about what it means to be a man. When David heard this from his father, he felt as though by being gay, he was somehow disappointing his father. This idea certainly scared David into thinking that his homosexual feelings were bad. Later in Paris, David was able to escape the direct tension that he felt, but his worries still lingered and he fought to become the person that he thought he should be:
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