Before Night Falls

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Taylor Skirvin
English 488
Professor Sugg
March 17, 2013
The Homosexual Culture in Before Night Falls
Reinaldo Arenas’ Memoir, Before Night Falls, follows the life of Arenas as he lives through the Castro revolution and leaves Cuba due to the persecution against homosexuals. In order to illustrate his experience in Cuba, Arenas shows us how he was persecuted and exiled through plot thread. Although both the movie and novel versions of Before Night Falls are able to accurately portray Reinaldo Arenas’ life, they both have their own strengths to show the persecution he suffers.

In Arenas’ novel, he begins his story talking about how he and his mom lived on his grandparent’s farm. Arenas talked about how he discovered he was gay at a very early age, but also spent a lot of time talking about the bestiality that ran rampant throughout his village. Arenas spend a large portion of the beginning of his book talking about how all of his cousins and friends would have sex with different animals and even talked about how at one point “on of (his) cousins, Xavier, confided that his greatest pleasure was to fuck a rooster” (18).The reason that the bestiality is important to mention in Arenas’ story is because it shows how ridiculous the persecuting homosexuals was. Considering that the people were willing to do these things with animals but still look down upon homosexuals just shows how non-progressive the country was being (when thinking about social issues, at least). Arenas was trying to show through his plot how everyone was very sexual and all participated in sexual acts that were “frowned upon”. Arenas even says at one point that “it is a rare man who has not has sexual relations with another man” (19).

Another way that Reinaldo Arenas was able to show the persecution against homosexuals was when he got arrested, which was shown in the book and the movie. In the movie Before Night Falls, Arenas is arrested when he is just enjoying his time at the beach with...
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