Tiara by Mark Doty

707 Words3 Pages
Everyone is judged. It does not matter who they are or what they do with their lives, somebody somewhere makes an assumption about them based on appearances. Peter, the main focus of Mark Doty’s poem “Tiara”, was a cross-dresser. Being outside of the “social norm” made Peter an easy target for bullying and judgment. He was not normal in the slightest, but no one really is. Yet, society expects people to conform to this idea of what people really should be. No one honestly fits that mold, especially not Peter. People could never get over the fact that he was different. He was constantly ridiculed and made fun of. His only escape from all that was death, as sad as that is. His life had to end just so he could be happy. Death brings a place of acceptance, something Peter has never experienced before. The speaker, a spectator at Peter’s funeral, hears snide comments still being thrown toward the deceased. People were saying that Peter deserved to die and that he was asking for it. The voice of the paper then points out that an afterlife of acceptance is better than a life of being an outsider. The theme of “Tiara” by Mark Doty is death is an escape from the judgment of people on Earth.

Even in death, Peter cannot escape ridicule. At a time when everyone is supposed to celebrate his life and mourn his death, they are still mocking Peter. He is still the punch line to cruel jokes. At one point, a funeral attendee speculates that the reason the casket is closed is because “he was in there in a big wig and heels” (Doty 11/12). Peter was being judged at his own funeral. That is pathetic. No one should have to endure that, but Peter did. This poor individual was told that he “asked for it” (Doty 16). “It” is referring to death. He was just...

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...eath, it ends with happiness. Peter being judged at his own funeral is heartbreaking, but there is a bright side. He can no longer hear their hate. He is already long gone by his funeral. He is in heaven. The hate can no longer hurt him. The speaker questions why humans would choose a hard life over an easy afterlife. In his poem, Doty proves that death is an escape from judgment, but he’s not saying death is the answer. He is saying that bigotry is causing these suicides or people hoping for death. Stopping the hate will let more people live free and be individuals. They would not have to conform to society’s mold any longer. When Earth reflects the morals and acceptance of this “heaven” that is mentioned, that is when people can be truly free. Peter is now free to be happy. His new life is a chance to start over and be him without fear of judgment or expectations.
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