“Human Pillars of Salt”:The Representations and Politics of Youthism and Ageism in Gay Fiction
|Keywords:||《魂斷威尼斯》;《單身男子》;《已婚男人》;男同志;青春崇拜;大齡歧視;刻板印象;Death in Venice;A Single Man;The Married Man;gay;youthism;ageism;stereotypes||Issue Date:||2016||Abstract:||
This thesis reads Death in Venice, A Single Man, and The Married Man in the context of age-discriminatory atmosphere of gay subculture. I argue that gay fiction not only represents the youthist and ageist stereotypes and myths in gay subculture but also contains possibilities and counterexamples to deviate or even subvert such ideology. As the change of configuration of idolized youth is influenced by historical events and popular discourses, the ever demonized characterization of ageing male homosexuals obtains the opportunity of purification, when gerontological issues receive more critical concerns of writers and literary scholars in recent decades. Mainly indebted to various feminist approaches, this thesis deals with the representation of ageing process from examining the signs of decrepit flesh to scrutinizing the causes for negative emotions, so as to connect the figures’ internalized ageism to its specific social meanings of gay subculture, i.e., doomed loneliness led by undesirability. Particularly, The Married Man really displays unfiltered futures of gay men; it suggests that the extreme age-discriminatory atmosphere can be ameliorated through more cross-generational communications. The first chapter examines both the adorable images of youth from the older gay protagonists’ perspective and the protagonists’ acts of rejuvenation in pursuit of youthful beauty, and gives a historical explanation for the alteration of the idolized object of homosexual desire in different eras. The second chapter explores gay characters’ subjective ageing experiences and investigates their symptoms of ageism; taking the readership’s reaction into account, these representations can be viewed as mechanisms of heteronormativity from the viewpoint of ideological criticism. The third chapter revisits the age-related stereotypes and myths through scrutinizing Edmund White’s destigmatizing strategies, including deploying counteractive images, arranging poetic justice, and implying reciprocity of generativity.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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