Belize is to Roy as Elsie is to Jeanette

In the latter half of Scene 1, Act Four, when Roy is emoted by Joe’s news of living with another man, Belize enters the scene at just the right moment to receive Roy’s bleeding arm and enraged state. Belize is able to take control of the erratic situation, and bandage Roy’s arm. His presence in this scene is crucial for Joe because he not only saves Joe from Roy’s wrath, but also urges him to change his shirt and not to touch the blood- something Joe would not have known to do otherwise. This particular instance enforces Belize as the more ‘omniscient’, and ‘voice of reason’ character.

Belize’s somewhat protective, somewhat informative role in Roy’s fragile life, is similar to Elsie Norris’s role in young Jeanette’s life in Oranges. Though Belize and Roy are not good friends as Elsie and Jeanette were, he is quite literally, Roy’s caretaker, as Elsie becomes Jeanette’s ‘surrogate mother’. Elsie and Belize both become reliable sources of safety for Jeanette and Roy. Elsie Norris, as an experienced and well traveled person, represents life outside the church that Jeanette has not yet experienced. In a similar way, Belize represents gay culture, and living as an openly gay man, as Roy has never experienced. Another similarity between Belize and Elsie is their innate good nature, despite factors that have lead other characters to turn against Roy and Jeanette. Even though Roy is relentlessly rude, racist and berating to Belize, Belize is equally calm and caring to Roy, as we assume he’d be to any other patient. When everyone Jeanette knows turns against her for being gay, Elsie remains Jeanette’s friend, regardless of her strong religious views. Each of these characters represent humanity and morality in two stories that are ridden with cruelty and inhumanity.

3 thoughts on “Belize is to Roy as Elsie is to Jeanette”

  1. The similarity between Belize and Roy, and Elise and Jeanette, is incredibly significant. Belize and Elise certainly act as a safety net for Roy and Jeannette, although in different ways. I think it is interesting to note Belize’s stability and rationality, but also the possibility that he is the most campy character, perhaps not seeming as though, within the entire play. This aspect of Belize differs from Elise, as she portray a more traditional, less campy, mother figure to Jeannette. Belize’s character is seemingly campy in his “stereotypical gayness.” He is both forward and flamboyant regarding his sexual orientation. This difference though may be important in analyzing the roles of Belize and Elise.

  2. I really liked the connection you made between the two characters, Belize and Elsie. I think that you really hit the nail on the head when you called them the voices of reason in each story. However, I wonder if you could even push further and explore why the authors chose to involve these characters. What do these characters add to their stories beyond just being “sources of safety” as you said. Why is it important that Roy and Jeannette had these sources of safety? I think that you made a great connection between the two stories; I just think you can go even further in answering the “so what?” question with regards to the connection you made.

  3. As several others have mentioned through their blog posts, there’s an undeniable similarity between Jeanette and Roy. Though characteristically very different, there are certainly many parallels between the experiences of the two protagonists. The parallels that you discuss between Belize and Elsie, however, is not a connection that was clear to me. As someone mentioned in an earlier comment both of these characters act as safety nets for the protagonist of their respective novel. Although Jeanette and Roy require very different types of support, Elsie and Belize provide guidance (more willing in some cases than others) and reason when our protagonists are in need. As Louise stated above, I definitely would agree that an expansion could be made on this correlation of character roles. I would love to see a further analysis on the significance of the roles that each of these characters presents to Roy and Jeanette, respectively.

Comments are closed.