Role of Sex and Gender

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Josh Mann
Wendy Pawlak
Textual Analysis “Pass”

There is a time in everyone’s life where they discover their sexuality. Boyer Rickel’s short story “Pass” demonstrates the beginning stages of a boy discovering his sexuality. The main character is a 10-year-old boy who finds himself “always in the company of men never with women” (315, Rickel). These masculine environments influence his sexuality and his understanding of his sexual preference. At one point in the narrative the boy finds himself fascinated with the male physique and realizes that he is defying social norms. In “Pass,” the protagonist discovers his preference towards boys through his multiple surroundings in the story, such as Rays Barbershop, the Pool house, and the boys’ locker room.

As a child, the boy’s father often took the protagonist to Rays Barbershop. It was here that he began to feel uneasiness towards men. The main character first describes Rays as “ A world of men, men without women” (315). By being around only men the main character grows uneasy because he comes to realize that he is more comfortable and emotionally connected around women. This is because he desires men and feels more comfortable in a feminine environment away from that sexual tension. As he sits in the parlor he feels lost in the conversations between the men. Although he feels “the talk was generally good-natured,” he is put off by the “quality of a public competition” in their voices (315). These conversations where he feels uncomfortable include sports, and the stock market because these subjects are usually associated with masculinity while the protagonist experiences underlying femininity. Another reason the protagonist is uncomfortable in Ray’s Barbershop is because of how his father’s demeanor changes when they step into Ray’s. “ What made me most uneasy, though, was how my father, stepping through Ray’s door, became someone else; he suddenly treated me as an other” (316). He also notes that...
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