Our Lady of the Flowers
Our Lady of the Flowers, a convicted murderer. In real life, he was Adrien Baillon, born on December 19, 1920, and executed on February 2, 1939. In the story, he is identified by the titular sobriquet, by his real name, and as an imaginary extension of “Maurice Pilorge,” the name given him by the author in an earlier poem and retained as the name of the person to whose memory the novel is dedicated. As a character in the story, he is loved by Divine, Seck Gorgui, and others, is affectionately called Danie, and is engaged in drug dealing with Marchetti. The details of his trial and execution are orchestrated in the narrative to coincide with the accounts of the deaths of Alberto and Divine. Like all the male characters in the novel, he is homosexual.
Jean Genet (zhah[n] zheh-NAY), the thirty-year-old author and narrator of the story, serving time at Fresnes Prison in cell 426, where, by contemplating newspaper photographs attached to the wall, he creates character roles for the men photographed. His imaginative assignment of these roles to himself and his fellow inmates serves to stimulate his erections, enabling him to masturbate, and to provide the substance of the story. The main role that he creates for himself is Louis Culafroy, a boy reared in the countryside who goes to Paris and becomes a transvestite male prostitute known as Divine. Our Lady of the Flowers, Alberto, and Marchetti are also, in part, confections of his own psychic identity.
Divine (dee-VEEN), the dominant persona of Jean Genet, his coeval. “She” loves Darling Daintyfoot and Seck Gorgui and is jealous of Our Lady of the Flowers. “She” dies of consumption. Divine is the personification of Genet’s quest for sainthood.
Louis Culafroy (lwee kew-lah-FRWAH), Divine/Genet as a boy. His mother is Ernestine, the widow of a man who committed...
(The entire section is 847 words.)