Embracing a Gay Identity: Gay Novels as Guides

Synopsis

This work presents a psychological analysis of the process of "coming out" for gay men in America since 1950. Koponen looks at the process as a series of steps in a hero's journey progressing from initial denial and anger to guilt, bargaining, and depression. The stages of acceptance and integration of a gay identity represent the goal of the quest. Providing the common ground on which to analyze the "coming out" process, Koponen uses gay male relationships portrayed in six important American novels--Falconer by John Cheever, City of the Night by John Rechy, Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin, The Beautiful Room Is Empty by Edmund White, Dancer from the Dance by Andrew Holleran, and Taking Care of Mrs. Carroll by Paul Monette. This book not only is literary study, but also is intended to help gay men reflect on their shared lived experiences. Self-help exercises on identifying and examining the stages of coming out are provided throughout the analysis.

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