Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Single Man - Visiting Doris, Fatalistic L.A.

"The hospital stands tall on a sleepy by-passed hill, rising from steep lawns and flowering bushes, within sight of the freeway itself...there must be many of its windows from which you can see the ocean and the Palos Verdes headland and even Catalina Island, in the clear winter weather" (Isherwood 93).

After leaving San Tomas State, George visits Doris at the hospital. She is obviously dying ("She is a different creature altogether..." p 94), and George spends his moments with her remembering the time that Jim cheated on him with Doris. He is repulsed by her current state, and is sure that Jim would have avoided her if he had known she would end up like this. Still, George had employed Doris--as she is marginalized and isolated in the hospital--as a site for a trip down memory lane for George. When he realizes that she is on the edge of death, George loses his spite toward her and thus another link to Jim.

George's attitude toward Doris in the hospital shows that her closeness to death and isolation are the factors defining her marginalization. As she nears death, the ultimate marginalizing factor, George is able to release all of his emotions toward her and leaves the hospital in a neutral state--no hatred, but no sympathy either. While at the hospital, George gives into a strain of fatalistic thinking as the words "This is the end of the road, folks" (94) rush through his head. Thus, the hospital serves as a reminder of utter mortality, where the ultimately marginalized reside - George shares more than he would like to admit with the patients and Doris herself. The discourse of his subconscious suggests that George is himself close to at least a spiritual death; his potential "replicant alien" life span is running out.

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