Alec’s Sexuality

The first issue that needs to be addressed for those that have read the text is the homo-erotic element that seems to be portrayed within the text. While the text does lend itself to this idea when you look at the issues that surround the text we may see that this is not the case and in fact it is Alec’s upbringing and lack of emotional stability that is the issue and not his sexuality.

  • Set before and around the time of World War 1 we are looking at an era of Irish History where the male figure of the family would be very emotionally removed. It would not have been considered manly to express your emotions and therefore it was not done.
  • Fredrick Moore is a clear example of the repression of emotions. He is emotionally detached throughout the text. His anger at his son being sent to war is shown through the shaking of his news paper when Alec tells the family he is going. While he does exchange a few words with Alicia it is only to say that the war is a stupid idea and nothing in relation to how he would feel emotionally if his son went to war.  Fredrick’s only real attempt to express his emotions to his son is when he offers him money for when he is leaving for war and gives him a watch. Fredrick is constantly put down by his wife but neither reacts or confronts the issue. There is no emotional connection between Fredrick and his wife.
  • Alicia Moore is clearly unhappy with her life and she brings this unhappiness out in her character and in doing so shows no emotional attachment to her husband or her son. In fact she seems to gain more joy out of their unhappiness, with the best example of her sending her son to war preventing the closeness that was occurring in its own way between father and son.
  • Alec is a product of this marriage and the lack of emotion. Having had an isolated childhood Alec himself has no idea how to express his emotions. Alec’s relationship with Jerry is the first real relationship that he has. Throughout the text they confide in each other and share their intimate secrets. This is something Alec is alien too and we can see clearly throughout the text that he struggles with it.
  • The main reason that Alec and Jerry’s relationship does stand out so much within the text is because it is the only real relationship within the text; Alicia and Fredrick do not like each other; Neither Alicia or Fredrick have a close and open relationship with Alec; Jerry’s mother wants to send him to war for the money; Jerry’s relationship with his father is non-existent.
  • For Alec and Jerry there is love between the two characters but it is the love true friends share for each other. The main reason that we may see this has a deeper meaning is because we have an omniscient point of view. Through Alec’s narration we get a closer look and the feelings and emotions expressed through the man himself. We see what can not normally be seen, we see through Alec’s mind. As a man these are issues and emotions that are taboo and normally left unspoken for fear of being portrayed as weak.
  • While both characters are virgin’s Jerry at least does express some desire to be with a woman.
  • Alec’s love for Jerry is that of a true friend and as Jerry is Alec’s only real emotional connection that is the reason for the strength of that connection.

5 thoughts on “Alec’s Sexuality

  1. Does that mean Alec is gay ? Cause he never said anything about liking a girl and they also shared the bed at war… thank u

    • I think he never said anything about a girl because there was none in his life. His mother kept him very sheltered.

      I think his sexuality is subjective. For me I do not think his was gay. Alec comforted Jerry when he was in a bad place and I think it was just an act of friendship. At that time period a man never showed weakness and had a reputation of never showing feelings. I believe that Alec was ahead of his time. If Jerry was female the relationship would be seen as one friend comforting another. I think Alec breaks the gender stereotypical role in showing through love and compassion when needed. If a man needs a hug he needs a hug, something only now becoming normalised within society. I feel the relationship appears homosexual because society has thought the male generation to hide feelings and never show vulnerability. You also have to remember that Jerry does discuss his interest in women so this is not a sexual relationship regardless of Alec’s status

      Just my opinion I could be wrong.

  2. Alicia always feeds the swans and talks to them so could you say that Alicia loved her swans more then she actually loved her own son or would that be wrong ? and thanks for de other question :L

    • The fact she feeds them and then later a swan dying adds irony as it emphasises how oblivious she was to her sons nurturing needs.

      I think the swan also represents her need for perfection. Swans represent grace, beauty and stereotypically perfection. The feeding represents the feeding of her need to Keep Alec from Jerry so as not to bring shame on their social standing. The swan being shot links with Alec killing Jerry as Alec will be killed in dishonour bringing public shame on the family rather than the hero status Alicia wanted. Alicia wanted to elevate her status by sending Alec to war but Alec made sure that could not happen with his actions

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