Lobotomist, the knife, and re-claiming sexuality

First reference to the lobotomist, “These are virgin births. Yes, the lobotomist is bathed in light.” (pg 7), and after an inane conversation with an old lady at the café, he asks, “Have I so demeaned my body that I am no longer seen to exist?”(pg 7). Existence without body is not existence.  “I speak with a voice that is not mine, articulate platitudes with great facility.” (Pg 7). He desires to attain a more meaningful existence.

First reference to Lilith, pg 7.

Example of word play, “I tear myself from the seat. The reality that I leave behind groans in bodiless anguish.” (pg 7).

First Christ ref, pg 7.

The narrator throws up outside the supermarket, “the puke is the only true reiteration of my existence. I’m sick of the sight of myself.” (pg 8). Puke being abjected from the body.  A form of self/non-self that’s a more bodily rejection that excrement which is more routine self-purging.  Then “Vade ad gehennan”, approximately “Go to the Valley of Hinnom, (Valley of the Wicked).”  Possible footnote required for clarity.

From there, the critical question, “Is my body now so lost? Is it drowned in seas of guilt and remorse? What kind of inheritance is this?” and the brilliant image describing social/cultural suppression of sexuality in one phrase, “I’ve got the balls for it, but they’re bound in cotton-wool rhetoric.” (pg 8).  Followed by the defeatist-not-yet-defeated “So how do I reclaim a lost manhood when in all probability that manhood was never found in the first place?…For as long as I fear the stirring of my own sexuality, I am lost.” (pg 8). The question of searching for his body is asked like the question of searching for identity.

Immediately after these questions, he first refers to his schoolboy photo and questions his association with the way he represented as a child. It’s the larger theme of reconciling static images of repressed public self with the fluid, personal evolving self.

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2 thoughts on “Lobotomist, the knife, and re-claiming sexuality

  1. The narrator’s search for his own sexuality reminds me of Billy Bragg’s song, “Sexuality”

    I’ve had relations with girls from many nations
    I’ve made passes at women of all classes
    And just because you’re gay I won’t turn you away
    If you stick around, I’m sure that we can find some common ground

    Sexuality
    Strong and warm and wild and free
    Sexuality
    Your laws do not apply to me

    A nuclear submarine sinks off the coast of Sweden
    Headlines give me headaches when I read them
    I had an uncle who once played for Red Star Belgrade
    He said that some things are really best left unspoken
    I’ve left your Auntie and run off with the postman

    Sexuality
    Young and warm and wild and free
    Sexuality
    Your laws do not apply to me

    Sexuality
    Don’t threaten me with bigotry
    Sexuality
    I demand your honesty

    I’m sure that everybody knows how much my body hates me
    It lets me down most every time and makes me rash and hasty
    I feel a total jerk before your naked body of work

    I’m getting weighed down with all this information
    Safe sex doesn’t mean no sex it just means use your imagination
    Stop playing with yourselves in single currency hotels
    I look like Robert De Niro, I drive a Mitsubishi Zero

    Sexuality
    Strong and warm and wild and free
    Sexuality
    Your lies do not apply to me

    Sexuality
    Come eat and drink and sleep with me
    Sexuality
    We can be what we want to be

    Songwriters
    BRAGG, BILLY / MARR, JOHNNY

    Read more: Billy Bragg – Sexuality Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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  2. In particular, the narrator’s search for personal freedom is caught in a fabric of social structures. (see “structuralism becoming post structuralism” later).

    The narrator’s attempt to free himself from the structure begins with a search for his body. Recognizing his living self in contract to the flat image he’s told he is. Eventually, the narrator, like in Bragg’s song, finds freedom in the body. Only, when the body is taken from us, we are unpersons in a 1984 sense. Never having been.
    “Sexuality
    Strong and warm and wild and free
    Sexuality
    Your laws do not apply to me

    Safe sex doesn’t mean no sex it just means use your imagination

    We can be what we want to be”

    Creativity. That’s it.

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