American vs. Sexual Identity

A line that stuck out to to me was David’s constant talk about being American. It was a way that was similar to how he viewed his sexuality. I believe that the belief that people go around Europe and explore their sexuality openly and honestly is a real though in many peoples minds. Meanwhile in America, people are more closed-minded. In one example from Giovanni’s Room, there is a quote that reads ‘… he said that you were just an American boy, after all doing things in France which you would not dare to do at home, and that you would leave me very soon.’ This speaks to the closeted views of Americans and the risky views of the French, which is not something stated often in this book. I think that David struggles with being American and a homosexual for the very same reasons.

Being in America, David talks about his sexual experience with Joey. This was an event filled with shame and discomfort. Though it felt right with Joey, David still decided to never speak about this event and to associate it with someone who was not truly him, though it was. David continues on to say ‘And I resented this: resented being called an American (and resented resenting it) because it seemed to make me nothing more than that, whatever that was; and I resented being called not an American because it seemed to make me nothing.’ This line alone to me speaks to David’s views on homosexuality as well. I think that David knows he is homosexual, but resents being called that, and he also resents resenting that fact. I think it is hard to dislike a part of yourself, and David resents both his American identity that makes him stick out in foreign countries, while he also resents being gay because it makes I’m different as well. The sense of shame follows shame follows David around like a scary rumor. David seems to find shame in most situations, which are all likely linked to how he grew up and the shame he has felt since childhood.