Gay Panic And The Stoicism Of Masculinity In “Drown” Essay Examples
Type of paper: Essay
Topic: Literature, Friendship, Protagonist, Drown, Character, Pain, Best Friend
In Junot Diaz’s short story “Drown,” the main character navigates an uncertain adolescence rife with questions about masculinity, freedom and authority. While he likely considers himself a good kid, the main character is a thief who engages in macho posturing, and subsequently calls his friendship with his best friend into question when the boy starts making gay advances towards him. At the beginning, he refers to his friend Beto as a “pato,” which is Latino slang for homosexual, creating a mystery that has to be resolved by the end of the short story (Diaz 91). The boy’s mother is oblivious to the reasoning behind this, and believes there is always a chance for reconciliation: “I’ve tried to explainthat everything changes, but she thinks that sort of saying is only around so you can prove it wrong” (Diaz 95). Through this, the boy’s sense of loss of his best friend due to his betrayals and hurt feelings becomes a major theme in the story.
The description of the actual events themselves (in which Beto masturbates the protagonist while watching a porn video) reveal very little about the boy’s state of mind, as he tries to repress his pain through not talking about it: All he says is “My legs started shaking and suddenly I wanted out,” refusing to confront the pain and betrayal that this made him feel (104). His emotions are expressed in other ways, such as his distance and silence when Beto tries to do something again, and his immediate throwing away of the book that Beto gives him on the day he leaves. “You can’t be anywhere forever” is one of Beto’s last statements to the protagonist, which turns out to be quite prescient, echoing the protagonist’s restlessness and desire to be anywhere but where he is.
Diaz, Junot. “Drown.” in Drown. Riverhead Books, 1996. Pp. 91-107.