By Roel van den Oever
In postwar the US, the discourse of Momism complex the concept that an over-affectionate or too-distant mom hampers the social and psychosexual improvement of her teenagers, particularly her sons. Deemed worst of all used to be the result of homosexuality, because the interval observed an extreme policing of sexual deviance. van den Oever zooms in on 4 situations of the cultural illustration of Momism: The Grotto, via Grace Zaring Stone, without notice final summer time, through Tennessee Williams, Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, and Portnoy's grievance, through Philip Roth, to provide new remark on canonical texts, a selected second in American tradition, and destiny studying suggestions.
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Additional resources for Mama’s Boy: Momism and Homophobia in Postwar American Culture
Why focus on a novel marred by the deus ex machina of a sudden death, a novel that falls so distinctly outside of any canon, a novel that is not even in print anymore? The first reason is that The Grotto’s central characters are a domineering mother and her queer son. Almost from the start, Celia’s ascendancy is a bone of contention to Evan who says: “I’m sure you already know exactly what we’re going to do here” (TG 3). When Celia denies this, he flares up: “Don’t kid me. We’ll do exactly what you think we ought to do” (TG 4).
About totalitarianism, Schlesinger remarks, “It perverts politics into something secret, sweaty and furtive like nothing so much, in the phrase of one wise observer of modern Russia, as homosexuality in a boys’ school: many practicing it, but all those caught to be caned by the headmaster” (Schlesinger 151). Yet another instance of homosexual innuendo in The Vital Center concerns the State Department, “which Americans had reasonably regarded as a refuge for effete and conventional men who adored countesses, pushed cookies and wore handkerchiefs in their sleeves” (Schlesinger 166).
The confusion generated by The Collector’s change of narrator can also be understood as an “‘ungrammaticality’ or invraisemblance” (Chambers, Story 32), an element in the text that at first does not make sense. To illustrate this, Chambers refers to Honoré de Balzac’s Sarrasine (1830), in particular to Madame de Rochefide’s sudden rejection of the narrator’s romantic advances: “The question of why she so unexpectedly refuses what she had previously acceded to is one of those irritating difficulties of detail that have the function of provoking an interpretation, or reinterpretation, of a text by forcing us to read it as a whole in the light of the problem they pose” (Chambers, Story 74).