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Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan and Luna by Julie Anne Peters are obviously different in the tone of the texts and the nature of the struggles each individual character faces because of identifying as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Boy Meets Boy is different from most texts describing the experiences of LGBTQ+ identifying individuals, in this case bi/gay males. Often with LGBTQ+ literature, such as in Luna, there is a very negative conflict that results from the character’s identity, be it coming out, suffering from discrimination, family implications, or other struggles. Different from Boy Meets Boy, Luna follows the typical script of LGBTQ+ literature, as family tension is at the center of the life of a trans-girl. Specifically in Luna, she (Luna) has a strained relationship with her father: “It happens so fast it’s a blur. Dad clutches Liam’s hand and almost wrenches his arm from the socket. He yanks Liam toward the house. I hear Dad snarl under his breath, ‘We’re going to have a talk, young man’ (Peters, 17).

However, as previously mentioned, the plotline of Boy Meets Boy defies the reality of the LGBTQ+ community in which there is discrimination, oppression, and much more than simple teenage drama. The plotline of Boy Meets Boy aims to normalize homosexuality in the same way that heterosexuality is “normal” by default. Levithan, though, does leave room for the truth as he documents some struggles of LGBTQ+ identifying individuals through Tony’s character as he struggles with the intersection of being gay and living in a community and with parents who are religious and choose not to accept his identity.

While the novels are very different beneath the surface in areas such as author’s purpose, tone, and implications regarding the LGBTQ+ community, they are similar on the basis that they are both LGBTQ+ novels, thus serve a purpose much more than to simply entertain. In reading both of these in conjunction with one another, we were exposed to both sides of the spectrum in terms of discrimination in the LGBTQ+ community. In reading Luna, readers can, in a sense, experience what it is like in most places to be LGBTQ+. In Boy Meets Boy, however, readers can imagine a more perfect society in which homosexuality is, in fact, normal. By reading both of these novels, the reader is able to more fully understand what it is like to be marginalized for one’s identity.


Tony Kushner in Angels in America wastes no time being prude, as the idea of Camp appears as early as page 33 when Harper says to Joe, “I heard on the radio how to give a blowjob… You want to try?” The concept of “Camp” is described by Susan Sontag in “Notes on ‘Camp’” as “…the love of the exaggerated… Camp responds particularly to the markedly attenuated and to the strongly exaggerated (39).” To connect these two ideas, begin by considering the audacity of Harper to outright suggest to Joe the idea of oral sex at the time or, in a realistic sense, why Kushner would write about it if not for stylistic purposes or the shock value that finds itself in Camp culture.
Speaking to the linguistics of Sontag’s definition of Camp and placing it in conversation with Joe’s character, I am able to draw the parallel in the vocabulary of “love of the exaggerated”, as Joe’s character and his excitement for sexual activity and willingness to vocalize such feelings shows an exaggerated, arguably liberated version of a gay male (2). To push further in analyzing Camp, specifically in parallel to this piece of text, Camp culture has taken elements of satire, shock value, and sex appeal to create a liberating movement in queer literature.
Overall, the Campiness of Joe’s character lies within his outward sexuality and refusal to hide his gayness. Sontag makes the claim that, “the androgyne is certainly one of the great images of Camp sensibility,” meaning that questioning the boundaries of gender norms is a large component of Camp culture (3). Joe’s character does so in acting arguably feminine, which is another controversial concept as femininity and masculinity are also social constructs.

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pg 72 “Everyone always said you found the right man. my mother said it, which was confusing. My auntie said it, which was even more confusing.” -Jeanette Winterson


This passage encompasses one of the greatest conflicts in most coming-out stories, which is the reaction of one’s family. In this case, a super religious family is hell-bent on the idea that Jeanette is straight and aspires to marry. Knowing that a family has such expectations will keep one from coming out for the simple fact that revealing the true identity could result in strained relationships and even homelessness, not to mention self-loathing. Jeanette, in this passage, is both confused and discouraged as while she feels she is gay, she is afraid of what her family will think and how they will react. Judging by the language used, specifically referring to how auntie was “even more confusing,” it is obvious Jeanette cares more deeply about her family’s perception of her, specifically her aunt, than the material punishments.

@ nallaa ; my reply to Rebuilding the Fallen (it wouldnt let me post comments)

Interesting analysis. I’d like to focus on the earliest part of your description in discussing the usage of the word “gay” and how both Yeats and Winterson use it. I feel as if, specifically in the lines you’ve cited, “gay” is meant to shock the reader in the beginning by making the statement, essentially, that ‘gay people are strong.’ But after lingering on the text, I am curious about flipping the meaning to “strong people are gay”, thus assuming that gay means a sense of joy, and those who rebuild are both gay in the sense that they are part of the LGBTQ+ community but also gay in the sense that they are happy and proud of the accomplishments of said community. I may be wrong, I just felt as if the terms holds two meanings.

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“I don’t want to hear how he beat her after the earthquake,

tore up her writing, threw the kerosene

lantern into her face waiting

like an unbearable mirror of his own” (Rich 234).

Just in the first four lines of this poem, Rich says quite a lot regarding gender roles and her view of domestic violence. She begins with “I don’t want to hear”, then continues to tell the story of a rather gruesome scene in the third person (234). Given the tone of the piece and the background of Rich, I am led to believe that Rich is trying to convince the reader of the severity of domestic violence and how repetitive it truly is. Saying she does not want to hear about it is not exactly true, she just knows the story already because of how repetitive this behavior is. Additionally, Rich repeats this phrase “I don’t want to” throughout the entirety of the poem, drawing a parallel between her language and the repetition of the behaviors she doesn’t want to know about, or rather, already knows about (234).

The idea of such abuse following an earthquake paints a more realistic picture of an abuser. She chose a character who is triggered by what she calls an earthquake then takes his anger out in the form of violence. She uses this metaphorical earthquake to establish a trigger for these abusive episodes, which are typically followed by apologies and presents to make the victim stay.

Tearing up the victim’s writing is something that cuts much deeper than flesh. Rich makes this connection to show how domestic abuse robs one of their individual sense of self, such as the connection a writer has to their writings.

The “unbearable mirror of his own” leads me to believe that Rich wants the reader to realize that abusers typically have reasons for doing so, and abuse is systematic, be it taught through generations or what have you (234). In essence, I suppose what I feel these lines, as well as the poem in its entirety, is trying to do, is bring some light to specific systematic issues women face, including domestic violence, but I also feel that many of the metaphors made can be linked to other forms of oppression or oppression-linked violence, making this poem a link, in a sense, to bring women together to safely recollect their experiences.