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 looking for acceptance. He was pushed to the outskirts everywhere he looked for it. Dying was the escape from a life of being an outsider. In death, Peter leaves a hateful life to go to a perfect afterlife.
Peter leaves a life where hate was thrown at him constantly to join a heaven that is blind to appearances. It is a place where even the most damaged and rejected people are welcomed. It does not matter if they are a rejected cross-dresser, or an average Joe, everyone is allowed in this oasis. This afterlife is beautiful down to every last detail. When the heaven is first entered, “horses rippling in orchards” (Doty 40) is the first impression of Peter’s new home. It looks like a place only seen in...