Author: jpanct1

Identity of the spy

When we think of a spy, we are made to envision a cold figure who lives a life stranded in between two worlds, often devoid of emotion, robotic almost. It is the type of thing we have come to expect via a James Bond movie. However, when the spy is seized by guards, we clearly able to gauge senses of panic, nostalgia, and uncertainty. “At least an hour must have elapsed since I was blindfolded, hadn’t it? I longed to luck my lips, but with the gag in my mouth I almost vomited. That would have been the death of me. When was he coming for me? How long would he leave me here? What had happened to his face?” (325). It is interesting to note that the formulating of this fictional character is somewhat at odd what the traditional spy. If the ideal spy is mysterious with little known about him, is it to say that his character is underdeveloped, or simply that a character that has intentionally underdeveloped to fit that role is sufficiently developed? Either way, this spy deviates from the traditional, and in that way is able to challenge the norm of how a fictional character like him is developed, and yet can still fill the role of a spy.

The Identity of the spy

The spy, both by the very definition of being a spy, and through his own recognition, realizes at once that his identity is not cemented. This is a very unique situation. Normally, when characters have some sort of identity crisis, they are torn between multiple identities, struggling to figure out which one they belong to and which one suits them better. It is a long and harsh internal crisis. However, quite calmly, he recognizes that he is both “a man of two faces” and “a man of two minds” (1). For at least the opening part of the novel, the spy is very aware of who he is. He understands that he is not a genuine patriot, is definite in his analysis of denial and guilt, and extremely composed and calculated in his thoughts, speech, and action, perhaps more so than any protagonist we have read of so far. Though he is conflicted about his political beliefs, many of his issues are a result of surrounding circumstances, which in turn contribute to internal conflict. In the same way he is a spy, one could say somewhat that he is a spy in his own consciousness; though the external professionalism of a spy reflects in his mine, so does the clashing of two different identities.

Sexuality in Fun Home

As Fun Home progresses, the relationship between Alison and her father shows  at the same time, increasing contrast but increasing similarities, specifically in their sexuality and their preferences. As Alison becomes more aware of her sexuality, her father’s preferences start to contrast heavily to hers. “Indeed, I had become a connoisseur of masculinity at an early age”(95).  The bottom panel of the page shows her father, meticulously polishing a vase of flowers, while  Alison sits in front of a television, watching a show featuring cowboys and guns. Likewise, on page 99, her father insists that Alison puts on some pearls, stating that she was afraid of being beautiful. Alison tells her father to leave her alone. In the next panel, she suggests that her father should get a suit with a vest.  Instead of objecting however, her father meekly agrees. The differing in these two responses indicates precisely the willingness both parties are to revealing their sexuality. While Alison refuses the pearls, thereby confirming herself as a lesbian, her father agrees to the suit and  vest, therefore continuing his facade of the heterosexual man.

Development of the Invisible Man

Development is an interesting word to use here, because it often implies that from the beginning to end, there is a noticeable, concrete change. However, the development of the narrator, the sequence of events which he experiences, ultimately leads to the a realization that he was the same as who he was in the beginning. In a sense, no development has been made. When the narrator becomes trapped underneath the manhole, he reflects on that. “Then I thought, This is the way it’s always been, only now I know it = and rested back, calm now, placing the brief case beneath my head”(566). As a result, you would not consider this a linear development; his circumstances do not improve in any way. Through his experiences and realization, he becomes more enlightened and undoubtedly wiser, but is ultimately left to a fate one could say he was destined for at the beginning. Being trapped in the manhole is clearly symbolic; for all his previous contributions to society, he is now invisible, trapped underneath the rest of the world, enveloped in blackness and forgotten.

Personal History of the Narrator

As the narrator walks down the street, he encounters a vendor selling yams, and the scent of the yams brings back memories of a personal history,  evoking a wave of nostalgia. “I took a bite, finding it as sweet and hot as any I’d ever had, and was overcome with such a surge of homesickness that I turned away to keep my control. I walked along, munching the yam, just as suddenly overcome by an intense feeling of freedom – simply because I was eating while walking along the street. It was exhilarating” (264). This embrace of his southern roots marks a start contrast from his time at college, where he made a conscious effort to distance himself from anything to do with black identity. This is an important moment for the narrator, because he his no longer ashamed of something that is inherently ingrained in his identity.  This contrasts starkly with his memories with classmates, where “you could cause us the greatest humiliation simply by confronting us with something we likes”(264). This is a symbol of maturity; the narrator now appreciates aspects of his culture, rather than shunning them.

Desires of the Invisible Man

Though the Invisible Man has previously expressed his desires , they were primarily represented through bettering himself and his race in compliance with the white idea of doing so. In fact, they were so calculated and lacking in emotion that perhaps desire wouldn’t be an accurate way to describe it.After realizing that he had been back stabbed, the Invisible Man exhibits a feeling of rage which we have not seen, a desire to kill. “Yes I thought, I owe it to the race and to myself. I’ll kill him”.  This is a significant transformation in the attitude of the Invisible Man.  One could argue that this is first time we truly see desire, as opposed to rationality. In this instance, he is consumed by it, overtaken by the very idea of revenge on the man who he once deeply respected, and we see it as a defining aspect of his character.