Otherness and Exclusion in A Single Man: Reading Christopher Isherwood from the Perspective of Queer Theory
Abstract: Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man is set in California in the early 1960s and follows a day in the life of the gay protagonist George, who finds it necessary to keep his sexuality hidden due to the widespread intolerance of homosexuals. The purpose of this essay is to examine how Isherwood draws parallels between different misfit groups to shed light on the situation of homosexuals at a time when homosexual acts were still illegal in California. The essay will consider not only the more familiar correlation between discrimination against homosexuals and ethnic minorities, but also the alienation from heteronormative society that can affect individuals of all genders and sexualities. Using the ideas of queer theory and intersectionality, I will compare the similarities between George’s situation as a gay man and that of his ethnically diverse college students and of his friend, the divorcee Charlotte, and the exclusion from society which they all experience in one way or another.
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