Queer Subtext?I am considering writing my essay on the gay subtext that my teacher says runs all through the novel. Can any one point me in the right direction? I didn't see this at first.

4 Answers

jk180's profile pic

James Kelley | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I disagree with the previous poster, collinsmc1 How is attempting to really read and possibly coming to understand a novel in a new way an example of "buying into the hype" or letting one's "agendas" get in the way of real teaching?

What I see in your post, to be honest, is a knee-jerk reaction; the resistance in your post to such an attempt at a new reading seems to me an example of how a teacher's agenda truly can limit learning. The opening of your post says a lot, for example. "Queer" is a real term. You can find extensive discussions of "queer theory" all over the place. Putting the term in scare quotes and following it up with four question marks doesn't make it any less real a term or any less valid an approach. 

The best approach for a teacher, I believe, is to phrase everything as a question and to encourage students to explore their questions openly while grounding their answers (of course) in a close reading of the works under discussion. I don't always succeed in keeping my own views in check (who does?), but it's a good thing for me to strive for.

collinsmc1's profile pic

collinsmc1 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

what is "queer"????  your teacher is buying into the hype of Cather's alleged sexual orientation.  If and because she is lesbian does not color the novel in the sense that Alexandra is a strong woman who degenderizes the role of 'farmer' and does what she has to do to in order to support a family of mysoginst men.  To place "lesbian" in this context negates the fact that Alexandr(i)a is the best person for the job accroding to the wishes of her dying father.

Teacher's should leave agendas, be they moral or political, out of the places that they are not appropriate and not force issues simply because they are convenient.

tishmel's profile pic

tishmel | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 2) Honors

Posted on

O Pioneers by Willa Cather.  Again, my teacher says there is a strong lesbian subtext, but I just don't see it.  Can you help point a few out?