The Role Of Isolation In Anne Carson's Autobiography Of Red

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In Autobiography of Red, Anne Carson tells a story of a red-winged monster named Geryon and his struggle throughout his life. Beginning at the age of 5 until adulthood, Geryon struggled with his identity and trying to figure out where he belonged in the world. Geryon’s mother, Geryon’s brother, Herakles, Herakles’ grandmother, and Ancash all contribute to Geryon’s life in positive and negative ways. Autobiography of Red serves as a bildungsroman, or coming of age novel. Geryon goes through phases of isolation where he doesn’t know who he is to self-actualization. He starts off in his childhood where he is constantly tortured by his brother, his adolescence where he is slightly rebellious, and his adulthood where he figures out who he truly…show more content…
Herakles’ grandmother serves as an aid for Geryon in his life. She is also seen as a parallel to Geryon. Just as Geryon only sees Herakles at night and as Geryon has a sense of disconnection with Herakles, Heracles’ grandmother was the same way with a boy named Fred and how she had an “incomplete transference” with him (Carson, 58). Along with this, she introduces Geryon into photography, “Red Patience,” and the Lava Man. “Red Patience” is a photograph of a volcano erupting, destroying the entire town below it and killing everyone but one man. This one man, the Lava Man, is a prisoner who witnessed the town being destroyed and claims that his blood is made of lava because of his encounter with the lava from the eruption (Carson, 59), Geryon can be seen as the Lava Man in terms of Geryon being a prisoner in his own life and having to witness everything falling apart around him. However, through the grandmother’s story of the Lava Man, Geryon can outgrow the disaster and turn it into something bigger and better like the Lava Man did in being a famous circus performer. After this, Geryon transforms his autobiography from writing to photography because he is “a man in transition.” (Carson 60). Geryon begins to look for his sense of self and his true meaning in the world. As he transitions into adulthood, Geryon goes to South America to change

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