In “The Autobiography of Red,” Anne Carson carefully articulates her words in order to question new perspectives on common ideas, through the main character, Geryon. More specifically, the use of single sentences at the beginning of each section encourages the reader to connect the remainder of the section to the proposed idea in the opening sentence. One sentence that particularly stands out is when Carson writes, “Reality is a sound; you have to tune in to it not just keep yelling,” (page 60). Although this sentence could be interpreted quite literally and straightforward, I think that it relays a deeper message. I think this sentence is a parallel to how Geryon feels about his reality. In particular, how he does not want to tune in to his reality.
Throughout the text, there are several instances where Geryon expresses how he feels separated from his peers. His childhood abuse, his way of describing the world around him through his photographs, his idea of himself as a red monster with wings, and his queerness all contribute to this described feeling of separation. Whenever Geryon describes his feelings of being on the outside, I kept assimilating them with the “sound” of reality. Particularly, how his reality sounded loud and overwhelming. This would explain why Geryon has avoided being in complete touch with reality and why he seems okay with being in his own world. It seems like he doesn’t want to conform to the norms that everyone around him seemed to follow. Who can blame him for not wanting to be a part of a reality that feels so excluding?
It is important to recognize how empowering Geryon’s choice is, given that not many people are able to find peace with their reality. Even though Geryon knows that he doesn’t fit into society’s expectation box, he still finds ways to make sense of the world around him. This is exactly what is empowering because it can seem impossible at times to not get sucked into the preset, unrealistic expectations for oneself, yet Geryon has found a way to avoid it. Why would anyone want to tune into an unforgiving reality?