Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Single Man - Charlotte's House

"Charlotte lives on Soledad Way, a narrow uphill street which at night is packed so tight with cars parked on both sides of it that two drivers can scarcely squeeze past each other...But this is no problem for George, because he can walk over to Charley's from his house in less than five minutes.
Her house is high up on the hillside, at the top of three flights of lopsided rustic wooden steps, seventy-five of them in all" (Isherwood 117).

Charlotte's house is slightly farther from the ocean than George's house is, suggesting that their marginalized status is a reflection of their positioning to the ultimate zone of marginalization, the boundless water of the Pacific Ocean, or vice versa. Charlotte herself offers an interesting portrait of another individual who is on the boundaries of traditional, normative society. There is also a strange sexual tension between Charley - who bears a man's name in George's eyes and disrupting traditional notions of heterosexuality - and George, specifically when they share a sensual kiss and she addresses him as "Geo darling."

"Soledad" means "sunshine" in Spanish, and it is ironic that Charley inhabits this physical space that, one would suppose, would carry with it connotations of happiness. Charley, however, is deeply depressed, which is yet another indication that Isherwood's novel disrupts the normative, things-are-as-they-seem way of thinking and addresses the needs of the Other. By giving Charley and George voices, Isherwood creates an intriguing dynamic of the Other - perhaps all too similar to the replicants of "Blade Runner" - that attempts to re-claim itself through mutual support.

No comments: