David’s Fear

David’s guilt is killing him. That guilt bubbles up and out from his “cavern”. David recedes into this “cavern” whenever he thinks about people finding out that he has slept with Joey or that he can possibly sleep with men. It is inside the cavern where everything will be ripped from David, as a means to escape losing everything and disappointing his father, David leaves for Paris. Unfortunately, David is unable to leave the cavern behind. While he no longer fears what would happen if his father found out about his attraction to men (not to say that he is not still afraid but that that fear is no longer the biggest threat in his mind), he has to dance around those that he comes into contact with in Paris as to avoid being found out.

This becomes clear when we see David interacting with Giovanni for the first time. On page 251 it states “And then I was afraid. I knew that they were watching, had been watching both of us. They knew that they had witnessed a beginning and now they would not cease to watch until they saw the end. It had taken some time but the tables had been turned, now I was in the zoo, and they were watching.”. Here, we see that David has attempted to distance himself from the gay men in the bar by watching and categorizing them. By creating that distance, David was allowed to enter into and maneuver through the space as though he was a visitor, in other words, a straight man. The problem this quote outlines is that David is no longer the watcher. He has become a part of the exhibit he created and is now at the mercy of every man he has put into it.

Later on page 254, it states “I could not look at Jacques; which he knew. He stood beside me, smiling at nothing, humming a tune…But I was glad. I was only sorry that Jacques had been a witness. He made me ashamed. I hated him because he had now seen all that he had waited, only scarcely hoping, so many months to see. We had, in effect, been playing a deadly game and he was the winner. He was the winner in spite of the fact that I had cheated to win.”. In this quote we are seeing how David attempted to hide his attraction to men in a singular, close relationship. It is also shown how David thinks about his sexuality. It is something to run from. It is something to be ashamed of.

But, at the same time, David’s sexuality being something to run from and to be ashamed of comes from the way he thinks about others seeing him. When he is enraptured by Giovanni, David finds joy in their conversation and interactions. Yet, it is when he thinks about what other people are thinking of him, he becomes afraid. We see that in both of these quotes. David is afraid of being found out. He is afraid of being seen. He is afraid of being known. Yet, he still follows Jacques to the bar, knowing the risk that one day he might find someone who could put him into motion. While David is afraid, it almost seems like he wants to be known and seen, if only by one person (being Giovanni).

One thought on “David’s Fear”

  1. Hey Rae’vonne,

    I completely agree with the account of David’s fear and shame that you have described, and I feel as though it fits perfectly into Foucault’s idea of power. In my post, I wrote about how Foucault rejects power as solely coming from an authority and being given to a subject. Foucault believes power is not this linear or unidirectional. Rather, he believes power can come from below as well as above. There are times that people who seem conventionally “unpowerful” in our society can exert control over others who would conventionally be perceived as more powerful. I think that is what happened to David a lot of the time throughout the novel, as he became the “exhibit he created.” Not only was he subject to the effects of his own power, but he was subject to the power of those who would be classified as below him socially.

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