“Depression is one of the unknown modes of being.
There are no words for a world without a self, seen with impersonal clarity.
All language can register is the slow return
to oblivion we call health when imagination automatically recolors the landscape
and habit blurs perception and language
takes up its routine flourishes.” Page 107
This passage is important to the novel as a whole and encompasses the major themes presented. Depression is all-encompassing and can be an unknown barrier that prevents you from being your true self, it leaves you unable to connect with others on a level that one may truly desire. This passage represents the struggles of Geryon and his lack of knowledge on depression and the way it reflects in his relationships. This is because he continuously struggled to find a healthy balance in his romantic relationships while also lacking necessary communication skills. Geryon lived unconsciously for many years due to his abuse and neglect contributing to his lack of healthy relationships. However, as he gets older, he grows and begins to change pushing through his loneliness to try and develop a life for himself after Herakles but is still weighed down by depression and darkness.
Geryon’s loneliness and insecurities leave him unable to share his true self with the world because he fears vulnerability and being vulnerable can leave you susceptible to attack. He truly is a little red monster, not because he is a frightening creature but because he is a true outsider, unable to communicate effectively and forced to hide his wings. His hidden identity is a main component throughout the novel, and it leaves him secluded, for he is different. This exacerbates his depressive state, and he is unable to spread his wings.
Loneliness and insecurities are strong themes that follow Geryon throughout the novel. Geryon was a child of neglect and abuse, left to solitude. Due to his unhealthy relationships, he is unable to create healthy ones and longs for affirmation and attention. However, even if he receives what he is looking for, it is unlikely he will ever be satisfied because only he can fill and fix the void that was his childhood. Geryon’s past traumas had left him living an unconscious life, until the culmination of his trauma, the empty fruit bowl. The empty fruit bowl is a representation of the emptiness he has felt and the nourishment he so desires. The empty fruit bowl is a symbol of Geryon’s being, he is lonely and left unfulfilled by his relationships, just as the fruit bowl is left bare. His depressive state is a causal response to his life, yet when he sees the empty fruit bowl it seems as though a spark ignites inside of him. It is clear why he left, and there is hope.
It is clear to me that Geryon’s life is not a representation of one lonely outsider, but he is representing an entire community. Society perpetuates a heteronormative way of life and if you are unable to fit in, you must hide your wings, living in fear. Identity is an important aspect of this book, but also to our society. Our identities are an important part of our lives and something that we alone wish to control, losing that control leads to loneliness and ambivalence towards a successful life. This can be seen with Geryon throughout the novel as he hides himself, his sexuality, and the little monster that lurks within him.