Summary (Identities & Issues in Literature)
Gil Cuadros’ City of God reveals to readers a gay’s life from a twofold perspective. The narrative center draws heavily from Cuadros’ memories as a Latino child with gay tendencies. Cuadros’ family was working class, his parents Mexican. City of God consists of two distinct parts. The first part uses short narrative, the second, poetry. This choice is significant. The short stories re-create Cuadros’ childhood world. Their main characters are children who are expected to display a strong masculine behavior, but these children are sensitive individuals who are struggling with their first gay experiences. Following the traditional pattern of a diary, the narration focuses on sexual incidents as centers of the action, which, in turn, serve as material for the second part.
Sexual desire is a main theme and cohesive leitmotif of these stories. The main character confronts physical changes at the beginning of his teenage years and his discovery of sexual pleasure. As an adult, besides dealing with his family’s disapproval of his gay lifestyle, he must struggle against the racist attitude of a predominantly white gay community that views him as a sexual object. In addition, he must deal with the imminent death of his white gay lover and his own HIV-positive status. Of particular interest is the main character’s coming out to his family at age twenty-three, disclosing to them that he has a white lover. This stand clashes with the...
(The entire section is 396 words.)
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