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Metaphors for the Closet in Coming Out Stories College

Every coming out story must deal with the characters’ struggles of being in the closet. The stage of not yet being able to be open about one’s identity can be the most difficult and turbulent point in dealing with their queer identity. It is a time of difficult self-reflection and dissonance from the rest of the world, which can be incredibly isolating and ominous. Every person’s experience of discovering their identity is unique, and therefore so are the closets they find themselves in. The nature of the closet is contingent on the time period, society, and individual person’s attitude. As well, an individual’s experience in the closet inevitably shapes the way that they see their sexuality, act towards their partner, and approach the outside world. After careful analysis of three coming out stories: the novel Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, the short story “Brokeback Mountain” by Annie Proulx, and the graphic memoir, Fun Home by Alison Bechdel, I believe that the most central setting in each serves as a metaphor for the closet. I will discuss how Giovanni’s room in Giovanni’s Room, the mountain in “Brokeback Mountain”, and Alison’s childhood home in Fun Home, all symbolize the closet in how the settings act as very personal...

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