Water, Control, And Homosexuality In Giovanni's Room - Central High School/cis English - Essay

784 words - 4 pages

Sophie W.
CIS English 6th Hour
Mr. Jacobs
November 16, 2016
Water, Control, and Homosexuality in ​Giovanni’s Room
In ​Giovanni’s Room​, David’s association of water with Giovanni, as well as his ideas
surrounding water and the ocean, reveal his fears about his homosexuality. Water imagery plays
a significant role in the novel. It is usually tied to Giovanni or another non-heterosexual character
and almost always carries a negative connotation. This negative attitude toward water and
homosexuality is contrasted with David’s desire for a woman to be like land for him. Overall, the
contexts in which Baldwin places water imagery and the aspects of water that he emphasizes are
significant because of the information they provide about David’s fears, which are perhaps ​the
driving force in the novel and greatly impact both his thoughts and his actions.
Throughout the book when describing their interactions or Giovanni himself, David often
uses water imagery. He compares being in Giovanni’s room to being underwater and later feels
that “Giovanni was dragging me with him to the bottom of the sea” (114). David also mentions
feeling himself “flow toward [Giovanni], as a river rushes when the ice breaks up” (83). As they
get to know each other, David gets “a new sense of Giovanni, his private life and pain, and all
that moved like a flood in him when we lay together at night” (93). David connects Giovanni to
this idea of moving water and the ocean.
Baldwin water a negative connotation in the novel. Being “dragged” to the bottom of the
sea is in a literal sense extremely dangerous, painful, and even deadly. Floods are also dangerous
and usually cause a lot of destruction. Giovanni, during a confrontation with David, complains
about Paris and calls it “wet and cold” (139), and when talking about his life after Giovanni was
executed, David lists water as one of ​his​ “executioners” (111). One of the most striking examples
of the negative tone given to water in the novel is when David imagines the moments before
Giovanni kills Guillaume, “but, of course, it was too late. Guillaume seemed to surround him
like the sea itself” (155). At this point, the reader can infer from what Giovanni told David in the
past that at that moment Guillaume was attempting to sexually assault Giovanni and coerce ...

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