Writing, Identity, & Queer Studies

In & Out, Either/Or, and Everything In Between

The Lie, Our Savior

“Driving through Georgia, we lie like Abraham” (Dordal, 50).

Here, in her The Lies that Save Us, Lisa Dordal brings us on a trip alongside her partner and herself. My speculation is that these two simple lines, more so the second, hold deep-rooted meaning to Dordal. Her Lutheran upbringing is reflected in her writing on a number of occasions, but this instance specifically relates her to a religious figure. Abraham, a biblical patriarch, is known for his white lie, or lie of protection. A lie similar to Lisa’s, a lie of caution, and for the sake of his wife. Abraham feared that his wife would be killed if the knowledge of their marriage became known to the wrong people, so he claimed to be her brother. Lisa, just like Abraham, is well aware of the evil intentions that are far too common amongst humanity. The unfortunate truth to society is that some people think they have a right to interfere with the lives of other people. There is no way of knowing what someone is thinking in their head, which is why it is better to be safe than sorry. As sad as it is, unjustified acts of violence happen to people regularly. Lisa speaks on such senseless violence in Amanat, another poem from the same collection. A terrible attack on an innocent woman in New Delhi, India that is just one of many instances of human horror. As a member of the lesbian community in an unknown place, Dordal knows that she is at risk of having a halfwit do something to her and her wife because of how she identifies. The Lies that Save Us speaks on the sadly necessary precautions that must sometimes be taken.

2 Comments

  1. I like how you pulled the Lies that Save Us and tied that to Amanat, because I never would’ve really thought about it like that. You’re right in your analyzation of the theme of violence that Dordal eludes to in her work, and these two poems especially show that it can be subtle or it can be abrupt. I also think that Dordal is very clever in the way that she writes, often tying in many metaphors or analogies as she did with this Abraham quote, which you did a nice job explaining because truthfully I didn’t know the full story.

  2. I found this quote also very interesting. It could also be a reference to their sexuality, of needing to go under the radar. Perhaps even appear “heterosexual.” I thought of this quote in context to Warner’s idea of “normality.” I took it in reference to the fact they are driving through Georgia, a southern state, they needed to appear “normal,” or heterosexual so that they would not face any violence.

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