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.