How does Shelagh Delaney present the character of Geoff as an outsider in A Taste of Honey?

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In Shelagh Delaney's play—and later, film—A Taste of Honey, a teenager named Jo finds herself struggling with her roles and responsibilities in life. She wants to leave school and is frustrated with the impoverished life her mother has set for her. She briefly dates a Black sailor and...

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In Shelagh Delaney's play—and later, film—A Taste of Honey, a teenager named Jo finds herself struggling with her roles and responsibilities in life. She wants to leave school and is frustrated with the impoverished life her mother has set for her. She briefly dates a Black sailor and becomes pregnant by him. During her pregnancy, Jo meets Geoff and the two forge a strange but mutually fulfilling relationship. The two come to fulfill some surrogate parental roles for one another, sharing in advice, consolation, and housekeeping.

Geoff is a young, effeminate man who we can understand based on implicit media "coding" of the time to have been gay. Though his sexuality is never mentioned outright, Geoff as presented as having many feminine behaviors, which were widely conflated with homosexuality in men at the time. (You may notice that this persists in Western culture today, where a man's sexuality may be questioned on the basis of his doing or enjoying something commonly thought of as feminine.) Geoff's sexuality is even more marked as other when we consider the fact that all the other male characters in the play engage in heterosexual intimacy with either Jo or her mother.

We come to know Geoff as an outsider or Other when we find out that he has been kicked out of his apartment by the landlady—surely only something dastardly could warrant such treatment! Unfortunately, it is the truth that many people who were suspected of being gay or otherwise sexually "deviant" were denied or kicked out of housing in this time. Geoff is also presented as being somewhat of an outsider because he is perhaps the most excited for the coming arrival of Jo's baby. Geoff does lots of cleaning and preparation for the birth, in stark contrast to Jo's depression and disdain for her growing child. Geoff's softness, kindness, and optimism are altogether a departure from the attitudes we encounter in the other characters of the play.

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