Heroism In Christopher Isherwood's A Single Man

920 Words4 Pages
Imagine a homophobic world in which those who are different are forced to uphold a barrier for their emotions, to put their sexuality in a hole in fear of the consequences and to find a “cure” for this so-called disease. A world of which, did exist, in 1960s America, which coincidentally, was the era the novel was set in. The novel provides an insight of the ups and downs as homosexuals in a conservative time with a touch of despair in the equation. George Falconer, the protagonist in Christopher Isherwood’s “A Single Man” develops a coping mechanism for the grief, caused by the loss of his lover, Jim, as a gay white English male professor in 1960s America. Through its contrasting scenes in the absence or presence Jim, Isherwood’s “A Single Man” suggests that George has a critical view of the people around him as he sees himself as a minority which affects his thinking process.
“Reaction formation secures the ego against the return of repressed impulses from within…”. From the novel, George hints traces of conscious and unconscious reaction formation due to his dissatisfaction in life. Consciously, George portrays this defense mechanism towards Doris, a fling of Jim’s past, when he visits her on her deathbed in a hospital.
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Hence, George’s reaction formation was an indication of his seeming seclusion. His repression was enhanced upon Jim’s death because he felt a need to cover up the mourning he felt for his loved one. The projection was stemmed from his discontent with his own personal attributes. George struggled a lot throughout the book with his identity, his misery from loss and his relationships. However, his actions led him to a path of self-discovery, allowing him to appreciate life as it is despite his uneventful heart attack at the end of the
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