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Desiring Brotherhood


frivolous young woman who takes in many lovers. Her current

lover is Major Morris Langdon, who lives with his neurasthenic

wife, Alison, and her Filipino houseboy, Anacleto, near the

Pendertons. The novel is written in clean, sparse prose and

narrated from an impersonal point of view. The opening few

sentences establish the tale’s austere setting in a repressive mood:

“An Army Post in peacetime is a dull place. Things happen, but

then they happen over and over again” (McCullers, 2001c: 309).

The military quarters are built on the principle of strict discipline

and uniform repetitiveness: “the huge concrete barracks, the neat

rows of officers’ homes built one precisely like the other, the gym,

the chapel, the golf course and the swimming pools

all is

designed according to a certain rigid pattern” (309). Words such as

“dull,” “monotony,” and “insularity” accentuate the dismal and

stifling mood of this isolated environment. Military service

demands regularity and conformity, “for once a man enters the

army he is expected only to follow the heels ahead of him” (309).

Yet irregular or extraordinary things “do occasionally happen on

an army post that are not likely to re-occur” (309). The savvy

narrator continues in her cold, detached manner: “There is a fort

in the South where a few years ago a murder was committed. The

participants of this tragedy were: two officers, a soldier, two

women, a Filipino, and a horse” (309).

According to Michael Bronski, McCullers engages with the

sexually intrepid topics of “homosexuality, sadism, voyeurism, and

fetishism [while exploring] the boundaries of eroticism, outsider

status, and the fragility of ‘normal’ in

Reflections in a Golden Eye

(Bronski, 2003: 339). These are, of course, pertinent descriptions

of the novel, but they fail to take into account the novel’s

worldwide implications, particularly McCullers’s critique of the

U.S. Army, its promotion of hegemonic masculinity, and its

colonialism at home and abroad. One of the essential clues to the

author’s awareness of the imperialist expansion of U.S. global

power is the strange presence of the Filipino houseboy, who alerts