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Thursday, February 4, 2010

"An Encounter" -James Joyce "The observation of green eyes happens Twice in the story. Are there homosexual connotations in the story?"

“There was nobody but ourselves in the field… we had laid on the bank for some time without speaking… I chewed one of those green stems on which the girls tell fortunes (16).” In this quote, the narrator of “An Encounter” is thinking to himself while sitting on a bank after he and his friend Mahoney have spent the day together. The stem that the narrator is chewing on is that of a plant whose growth can be read as a romantic omen. I believe that Joyce is using a bit of word play, in that the expression to “chew on something”(or to ruminate) means to think it over. Add to that the fact that what he’s chewing is used to predict love. It is just the two boys that are present at this point, and coupled with the narrator’s reaction to Mahoney in the end, is possibly indicative of homosexuality. Also, with regard to form, Joyce uses ellipses here as well as in the first appearance of green eyes, showing that they are related in some way, or that some type of theme underlies these sections. In combination with the other instances of homosexuality, one can begin to see the homosexual connotations.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting connection Justin, but are you suggesting simply the presence of homosexuality as a theme or the existence of a homosexual connection between Mahony and the narrator?