The Gloaming

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Critical Analysis

In the short story “In the Gloaming” by Alice Elliot Dark, Dark portrays the main character, Laird as a gay male dying of AIDS. The evidence that leads up to this decision is shown in Laird’s relationships, his health, and his overall character, and actions. The story starts out with Laird eating dinner with his mother, Janet and his father, Martin. Laird had moved back into his house to live with his parents for his final weeks of his life. 33 year-old Laird had always been really close with his mother, and knowing he was dying he tried to spend every night after dinner talking with Janet. Laird wanted to get to know about his mother in ways he had never talked before. Laird didn’t have a strong relationship with his father, in the story it said that his father was always busy doing work, and studying. “Fathers in many families are mysterious, distant, intimidating figures-even more so for boys with homosexual attractions. They are the family torchbearers of manliness, and, as males young and old know, homosexuality is considered the dreaded opposite of masculinity” (Psychology Today). Laird thinks he has disappointed his father. His mother makes up excuses for why he is always so busy, yet she wonders herself why he won’t spend time with them or even her dying son. She tells Laird that he wants him to get better, and Laird says that he will have to disappoint him again, because he knows he is dying. When Laird clings to his mother, and never talks to his father this is a big red flag. 26% of adolescent gay males report having to leave home as a result of conflicts with their family over their sexual orientation (Gay). Laird probably could have lived with his parents his whole life if he wanted to, but being gay he wouldn’t be able to bring other men home. After Laird passed, Janet got a letter in the mail from one of Laird’s male friends. He was the only one to write to her about how sorry he was, how he knew Laird, and that he would miss...
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