Monday, January 7, 2013

Will the real Lois Tyson please Shut Up!

Lois Tyson may have had a relatively decent point in her queer theory reading if she had had a stable and consistent thesis. If Tyson had just stuck to proving that Nick Carraway was gay, then she could have had a solid essay on her hands. However, Tyson strays often from her point, implying that Jay Gatsby and Tom Buchanan are gay, and that Jordan is as well. In fact, the only person in the novel who Lois Tyson doesn’t try to shove into the ‘closet’ is Daisy. Tyson tries to prove Gatsby’s homosexual interests by pointing out his new money wardrobe, “and his impeccable wardrobe features various shades of lavender and pink, two colors that have been long associated with gayness.” (345) Throughout the novel, Gatsby’s garish choices in clothing and design is a sign of his new money and need to show off, not his sexual preference. Tyson continues to blindly grab at straws as she tries to prove her convoluted points. Lois Tyson has a rare moment of truth when she gets around to proving the homosexual interests of Nick with Mr. McKee. She points that after Nick is with Mr. McKee, he doesn’t remember anything, “until he wakes up at four o’clock in the morning on the floor of the train station (so whatever occurred in the interim has the status of a repressed memory).” (344-345) However, Tyson quickly returns to her usual fluff-filled nonsense, trying to prove everyone's gayness, and even referring to a movie adaptation of the novel. Any point Tyson could have proven about the two women at the party becomes null when she mentions that, "the depiction of these two characters in the 1974 film version of the novel are that film's only concession to the possibility of a queer dimension..." (344) The book was written long before the movie and so nothing that happens in the movie can prove a point in the book. If Tyson had quit while she were ahead, and just proven the homosexuality of Nick, she could have produced a viable point and a decent essay. However, she stretched her theory too thin, trying to apply her idea to everyone in the book.

Do you think Nick Carraway really is gay?
Do you think Tyson was right to project her theory onto nearly every character?

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