This essay is concerned with the short story ‘Am I Blue’ by Bruce Coville, and aim to identify and comment upon the themes presented in the short story such as the issues of adolescence, tolerance, homosexuality and sexual identity in general. Since its release in 1994, Bruce Coville’s short story has been subject to both praise and approval as well as controversy and criticism. This essay focuses on these various aspects.
The protagonist, Vince, is a young boy who is questioning his own sexuality. Whilst dealing with this sexual confusion, he is also subject to bullying from a fellow schoolmate for being gay. The bullied teenager finds himself aided throughout the story by the fairy godfather, Melvin. By introducing Melvin to the story, Coville uses supernatural forces from the fairy tale genre in order to put across an underlying message of sexual tolerance. As Coville understands it himself ‘sometimes the best way to tell the truth is to tell a fairy tale’ (Marcovitz 2005:99).
Melvin has a decisive role in the short story in order to educate Vince and consequently to open his eyes and make him reflect upon whom he is, i.e. to raise his awareness of his sexual identity. By making every homosexual person appear blue, Coville, through the character Melvin, pinpoints an important fact: There are more gay people around than Vince could ever have imagined. People’s ignorance and intolerance in general have created a sense of prejudice and discrimination towards a minority that might not happen to be that unusual after all. This is an eye opener to Vince and probably to many of the story’s readers as well. In the end of the story, Coville reveals that Vince’s bully is ‘blue as a summer sky’ (Coville 1994:10). This leaves Vince much more comfortable with himself, although he might still be left indecisive about his own sexuality.
The short story has received praise for addressing important issues...
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