Giovanni's Room

"Giovanni's Room" Gay Criticism, Neglecting Hetero-normative Ideals 11th Grade

David is consumed by his inner conflict and confusion over personal sexual identity. This ambivalence causes him to neglect heteronormative family, relationship, and masculine norms, leaving him stuck in liminal spaces within society and himself.

After David learns Hella’s return is imminent, he feels apprehensive but also relieved, believing he will now be forced to end his relationship with Giovanni and fall into a solid, predictable relationship with Hella. The notion a woman is required for living a productive and happy life is imposed on David, weighing on him. His father hopes “Is it a woman, David?”(Baldwin 91). A motherlike caretaker suggests “you must go find yourself another woman, a good woman...get married, and have babies. Yes, that is what you ought to do.”(68). David neglects this clear staple of society, unable to continue a sustained relationship with Hella. After all Hella’s sophisticated deliberations on female life, in a last desperate plea, she gives in to the idea of the domestic sphere, believing it the way to happiness. “I want to get married, I want to have kids” “David, Please let me be a woman...take me. It's what I want.”(161). Hella desires the creation of a happy, heteronormative life through man...

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