Not the Question

The question was posed as to whether Delly embodies a “disruption of normative discourses”. Frankly, I don’t like this question. Perhaps I’m misreading it but to me it places too much agency on a character who does next to nothing in this short story, and the type of agency it gives him is not consistent with this character.

The only thing Delly really does in the narrative is sing. Most of what we learn about him is described by his father. It’s hard for me to say Delly embodies anything when he’s really just a background character, a personification of his father’s homophobia. In fact, I don’t recall even learning Delly is gay. I remember he plays with dolls, enjoys theatre, dislikes football, but that ultimately means nothing.

I don’t think it’s productive to focus on a character with such little characterization, but rather analysis should be focused on the father who jumps to conclusions about his son because of fear and hatred, even going as far as to disrupt the recital at the end.

6 thoughts on “Not the Question

  1. Hi Cole,

    I agree with your disagreement with the question, “disruption of normative discourses,” and I would like to focus on the term “normative” and ask, who gets to decide what the “normative” is? Around the same time of this work, a growing body of sociology focused on the world’s normalization. Annemarie Mol, a philosopher, points out how many scholars, such as Foucault and Georges Canguilhem, view the normal as something used to label others as deviant or “not right” with the world (2002,124). So, I agree that the question is flawed.

    However, one question I have regarding this post is, in English, should we focus on the characterization of characters when barely mentioned in text? How should we approach texts with hardly any character description but have individuals that students might be interested in discussing? Not with this work but just in general? How should we focus on characters with little to no characterization in texts?

  2. I thought this was a very interesting view point and I agree with what you’re saying. The son was never explicitly described as gay, it was just assumed by his father because of the hobbies he pursued, and those things mean nothing in terms of a person’s sexuality. I liked your point that Delly is merely a personification of his father’s homophobia, and I think you phrased that well. You made some very strong points and I liked what you had to say here.

  3. I think this is a great point, Cole. Delly doesn’t really get agency or character development and since we only learn about him through his father’s descriptions, what information we do have is colored by his homophobia. The focus of the short story is about what his father thinks about him rather than on Delly himself or his choices. I think this makes it more difficult for Delly to embody much of anything, especially an active disruption of what’s considered normal.

  4. I totally agree with this viewpoint now that you pointed it out. I would be very interested in another short story from Delly’s point of view because I do think it would be more empowering and interesting to hear what Delly thinks about himself. Especially because he is dealing with so much homophobia from his father and the world around him, I would be interested in how Delly actually identifies and how this oppression affects him. I think a short story from this perspective would be quite refreshing, whereas the original short story from the father’s perspective was quite exhausting.

  5. I also agree with your point that focuses on the lack productivity stemming from analyzing Delly. I agree that we should instead look at the father and focus on the homophobia and toxic masculinity that rules the narrative in this story.

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