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Discuss How Gender And Sexuality Are Represented In Urban Literature. (Texts Used Are The International By Glenn Patterson And Devil In A Blue Dress By Walter Mosley)

2137 words - 9 pages

The topics of gender and sexuality are inherent with urban society as they are concerned with everyday sexual or gender-related encounters. As a consequence it is important to discuss how these topics are represented in urban literature. The texts I will be discussing in regards to the question are The International by Glenn Patterson, and Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley. Both texts relate to different urban cities and decades, The International is set in Belfast in 1967, whereas Devil in a Blue Dress is situated in Los Angeles in 1948. The gender and sexuality issues expressed in each novel are at once both diverse and similar. Both texts transcend the notion that 'sexuality that is good, normal and natural should ideally be heterosexual, marital, monogamous, reproductive and non-commercial.' (Rubin: 280) In fact in Devil in a Blue Dress, Ronald who adheres to the notion of 'good, normal and natural' sexuality, and whose wife is a 'religious women' ends up with 'nine sons,' who 'eat every minute that they ain't yellin.' (Mosley: 133-4) His reward for maintaining a sexual appetite that is purely 'marital, monogamous, (and) reproductive' is that he doesn't 'have any chance to be happy, unless he broke his poor family's heart.' (Mosley: 134) In the following essay I will consider how sexuality is alternatively used for monetary and informative purposes in some cases and simply sexual pleasure in others. I will also look at gender stereotypes in each novel.Glenn Patterson's novel The International focuses on an eighteen year old boy called Danny Hamilton and his job as a hotel barman. On page one, we are told that the day before he had 'fallen in love twice and twice been rebuffed.' (Patterson: 1) By page two we are given the names of the two people, 'Ingrid and Stanley.' (Patterson: 2) This information is not elaborated on for the moment, instead the story carries on as normal, however the concept of a boy falling in love with both a male and a female was not such a 'normal' concept in Belfast in 1967. In fact,It was the last part of the UK to decriminalise homosexuality after a lengthly campaign to 'save Ulster from Sodomy' and a ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (in 1982, as opposed to 1967 in England and Wales and 1980 in Scotland).(Kitchin and Lysnaght: 11)Despite this, Danny seems to be very matter-of-fact about his homosexuality. He describes his schoolboy crush on a boy named 'Gregory' (Patterson: 30) and explains 'my first reaction on discovering that I fancied him was disappointment. There was so little about him that was attractive.' (Patterson: 30) The disappointment here rested on the fact that the boy he fancied was unattractive, not at the homosexual feelings he was feeling. However he is ultimately punished by for his homosexual behaviour after he is caught kissing a boy at his school leavers do; 'I was taken to the headmaster's office to where in due course the police were summoned. By midnight when I was...

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