He who sleeps on my lap
The subject in this poem is the perplexity of the homosexual guy’s emotion to his male friend. This is about a homosexual guy who has desires for his male friend but is unwilling to reveal his emotions for fear of condemnation and mockery from his friends, family and community. The persona’s feelings are at war with himself. He is willing to take the risk of his lifetime to be able to show his friend the depth of his feelings but yet again, he is afraid of the consequences that will come about with the revelation knowing full well that his friend doesn’t want to entertain other sexual possibilities and is also in love with somebody else, and a girl at that. In the final analysis, his fear won over his love. We find the persona unable to conquer his dilemma. Knowing the mind-set of his friend regarding sexual relationships, that the only correct thing is that between a man and a woman, he already assumed that a relationship with him will never be possible, that his dream will never come true. As what we’ve understood, the persona is a homosexual man who hides his real self from the society. At first, the tone is argumentative because we see the persona trying to show the guy that there are other possibilities for a relationship, not just between a man and a woman. This will be supported by the line: “He says he is a man and a man needs a woman and I disagree. We argue until he grows tired of talking and sleeps on my lap on this chilly night“. The poem also shows a tone of sadness because of a dream that will never come true. It is also wistful for what could be and this will be supported by the line: “I am here slaughtering one wicked wish that when he wakes up I shall be his dream”. From that line itself, it shows that the persona really harbours the thought that his love could be given back in return. But then again, he is afraid to show his real feelings knowing that the guy is in love with somebody else. So, he will content himself with just being friends and therefore containing his emotions. As we go through the poem, we see some words that we do not just take at literal value but look for a deeper meaning of the word/words. The word “sleep” in the poem implies a closed mind not yet ready to explore other possible sexual relationships. It is like when you are asleep, you do not know what is going on around you and it is in a way showing that you are not entertaining ideas that are contrary to yours. And so because you do not want to belabour the issue, you end the argument by going to sleep. It can be construed as a sign of weakness because you will not sit out and discuss the issue. You don’t want anything to be changed so ignoring is the solution that you’d rather undertake. By the use of the word “slaughtering”, the persona shows very fierce desire towards his male friend because he could have used simpler words such as “ending”. Instead, he used a very harsh word such as “slaughtering” which is really very brutal. The words “sleeps gently on my lap” imply that the guy has total trust on the persona. Their friendship is too deep and they are very comfortable with one another. So, we will assume that the guy does not know that the persona is a homosexual. Or, should we say, that he would rather forget it and act as if nothing happened. He is already happy with their relationship and he doesn’t want to change anything so he refuses to talk about it more which is why he would rather sleep than discuss the issue. As for our opinion, we can really say that he chose the right words, words that can push us to look deeper, words that can show vivid pictures of what is really going on and how he is really feeling. We assume that the scene happened in the persona’s house at night probably in the porch. This will be supported by the words “on this chilly night.” We can also picture a cold wind blowing. That is why the scene could not have taken place inside the house, otherwise they...
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