Closet Metaphors In Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man

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In the early to mid-1900s, a movement known as the sexual revolution began which referred to a change in society’s views on sex. This revolution incorporated ideas such as peace, unity, and most importantly free love (Teen Ink). Christopher Isherwood enthusiastically explored his homosexuality but reached a dark period in 1963 after ending his relationship with his longtime lover Jim (Isherwood Foundation). This dark period resulted in the masterpiece of A Single Man. Throughout the text, there are several instances of closet metaphors in order to paint the bigger picture of the inclusion and exclusion of those who think differently than what society expects them to. In A Single Man, Christopher Isherwood uses a variety of closet metaphors…show more content…
The composition of the freeway is very versatile, where its passengers have the choice to travel whichever route they feel compelled to. With that being said, it holds all different types of people that are only defined by the vehicle that they are driving. No one pays the driver any special attention, because on the highway everyone blends in as a body of cars. For this reason, George feels like a functioning member of society, but at the same time he feels isolated as well. For an example, he is amongst many other individuals on the highway that are traveling to their desired destinations, but his thoughts wonder away and he enters “Uncle George” mode while his body is left with a chauffeur figure. It is almost as if his body is shifted to auto-pilot mode while his consciousness is free to think and do what it wants. Throughout the story, the reader will continue to see George’s constant battle with trying to conform with society while still embodying what he believes is…show more content…
Isherwood writes, “George slips his parking card into the slot (thereby offering a piece of circumstantial evidence that he is George)”. This could come off as if he has to remind himself who he is since he is constantly playing two roles (Isherwood 43). George comes across a card that is ciphered by the IBM machine that contains all the academic records of a student. He despises this machine because it is believed that it cannot make a mistake, but when it does, it is erased as if it never ceased to happen. The machine is forcing George to be someone he is not and he is being defined by the mistake of the machine. Isherwood is possibly hinting at the fact that we, as humans, are held to such high standards that it expected for us to not make a mistakes. However, when we do make mistakes, they cannot be erased as easily as mistakes of an IBM machine or any machine at that. Towards the end of the text, George refers to himself as a representative of hope after analyzing the lifeless souls walking amongst him. The author is very purposeful for attaching the word “hope” to George because he can be used to illustrate to other non-conforming individuals that it is possible to “fit in” regardless of your sexual

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