The Loveless Sex In The Ghost Road

1521 words - 6 pages

In the Ghost Road, one of the main characters, Billy Prior, is the one who crossing multiple boundaries in this novel. He is born in working class but, with his effort, he services as an officer. He has a complicated view toward the war: He thinks the war is “bullshit”, but he still willing to go back to the front. Also, he is engaged with Sarah Lumb, but at the same time, he is highly promiscuous. Besides, he is a bisexual. Therefore, sex scene seems appear frequently in the Ghost Road. When speaking of sex, it is common accompany with love, connection and passion. However, in the Ghost Road, sex is rarely related to those characteristics. What Pat Barker presents us in the Ghost Road is sex is like a function, with no emotional tie between both parties involved. Meanwhile, the background of the Ghost Road is the World War I. The cruelty of the war is presented to us by the end of the book when Billy Prior dies at the several days before the World War I ends. In the Ghost Road, Pat Barker shows us that sex with no connection can be seemed as a metaphor of war: there is no emotion in it; it is a link with death; but during the process, that unemotional excitement and satisfaction within Billy Prior is all he is looking for.

The sex in the Ghost Road is without any passion in it, but Billy Prior still continues to have sex with people to find that pleasure without affection. During the Prior’s sexual intercourse with the prostitute Neille, he “groped around in his mind for the appropriate feeling of disgust, and found excitement instead, no, more than that, the sober certainty of power” (Barker 40). Billy Prior is like sadism, looking for pleasure while causing pain. Pat Barker portrayals Prior in using sex as a punishment to penalize people. In this scene, besides the excitement, the only thing Prior feels is disgust. There is nothing about love, or even lust, between Prior and Neille. What Neille means to Prior is probably only tool to make Prior has sexual relief and satisfaction. Meanwhile, that time of intercourse send Billy Prior back to his own past: when he charges money to his teacher for sex. In addition, he put that self-loathing on her because “the only way not to be her is to hate her” (Barker 41). In this scene, Barker uses the adjective like “disgust” and “hate” to show that even though there is no love between two people, they can still have sex. Besides, during this sexual intercourse, Prior is more like to punish all the prostitutes. More evenly, he is punishing himself. Finally, he gains the excitement and pleasure the he looks for. Just like the war, even though he despises it, thinking that is not worth it, he still prefer to fight for his country , just as he chooses to have sex at certain times. He can get the satisfaction without put any emotion in it.

Pat Barker also symbolizes the passionless sex as a form of control. Therefore, when Billy Prior cannot argue with Birtwhistle publicly for his rude remark on working...

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