Anne Carson plays with language, color, time, symbology, and gender a lot in Autobiography of Red, in the name of guiding the reader through Geryon’s mind and his telling of the story. Every bit of information espoused in the novel – whether through metatextual symbology (between the book and the ancient Greek legend), Geryon’s perception of colors (red, as himself, yellow, as he is seen, and blue, as Herakles is), themes of natural disasters and photography – allows the reader, in their mind, to embody the mind of Geryon and the strange, colorful way he interprets the world. The poetic prose writing style is a deviation from the modern genre, and yet also link to the past, to the ancient Greek stories of gods and monsters (esp. the translated tale of Geryon at the beginning of the book). Geryon’s love of photography as well offers an interesting relationship with time; the most chaotic photographs – those in motion, in progress, time-lapses – are the most disturbing to Geryon, and yet the ones he finds himself most drawn to. The relationship between red and Geryon (the bound wings, the seating for an audience, the volcano), and blue and Herakles (sex, desire, masculinity), is also worth noting. These juxtapositions create embodiments of the conception of queerness, and the use of time, in the context of these other themes, alludes to the timelessness of queerness, seeming to say, ‘we’ve always been here’.

The text, in itself, is inherently meta and uses its inventiveness to create a commentary on the juxtaposition of the monolithic norm and the personal, chaotic, fluid nature of reality. Each invention creates a link to the queer narrative and its relationship that acts both outside and within Herakles, blue— and the monolith.