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English 1022 Lecture: As For Me and My House

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English 1022E
David Bentley

English Lecture “As for Me and My House” March 24, 2011 - Is this a manifestation of same sex desire between Philip and Steven? Touch of pedophilia here? Older man is being drawn to a much younger man. Because the diary is Mrs. Bentley’s we will never know what really happened. Proof of adultery is really hard to get, and we will never get that between Philip and Steven. But I think we can say that it could definitely be same sex desire and a touch of pedophilia. Steve and Philip have opportunity to do more with their relationship than just look at eachother, like going in the car together without Mrs. Bentley present. - Mrs. Bentley’s reaction to this. Why does she facilitate this relationship? She complains of a headache and lets them go odd alone. They are gone for a very long time. Why does she just let them do this when she suspects they are romantically involved? - She realizes that he would rather go with Steve alone, without her. “I broke when they drove away” she is upset by what is happening - The way Philip and Steve behaves show an older man infatuated by a younger man and the younger man capable of exploiting this infatuation for his own good. - Philip showers Steve with gifts, almost to buy his affection. - Steve’s behaviour towards doting Philip (106): “Philip was too indulgent to win his affections so Steve is taking advantage of this. Shrewdness and strategy in the way he mentioned the red trousers yesterday. His scheming is too successful, it’s never seen for what it really is.” By who? She seems to see it. So is she criticizing Philip for what he is doing to Steve? We will never know. Seems that Steve’s exploitive-ness are consistent with the kind of older-younger man relationship here. - The way he touches and looks at Steve. (75) Discussion that Steve is a Roman Catholic so he shouldn’t be in a Protestant house, etc. During this discussion Philip has his hands on Steve’s shoulders. After someone slaps Steve, Philip puts his hands on Steve’s shoulders. He lingers at looking at Steve and lingers with his hands on Steve’s shoulders. - (95) Steve puts on the new suit. Brokeback Mountain moment. Clearly a sign that Philip is infatuated, just wants to touch Steve. - Sinclair Ross was gay. “Phillips hands on Steve’s shoulders is a very homosexual gesture, as is his staring at the boy” so he confirms it. It’s extraordinary that for 40 years after the publication of this novel no one ever thought that this was anything more than Philip being interested in adopting a young way. - In some ways, this is a closeted novel. It deals with issues of same sex desire in an oblique, subtextual way. That needed to be done in 1940’s Canada. Ross was born in the prairies when issues like this couldn’t be discussed, so he had to be really careful. He left Canada and spent many years in Spa
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