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438

E

UR

A

MERICA

specific colonial appropriation; the texts of the master become the

site of hybridity. It is in this sense that the hegemonic discourse

loses its representational authority.

Furthermore, Anacleto, as a queer rebel of color, incites

Alison’s dreams of escaping from heterosexual marriage and of

leading a romantic life at sea. Here McCullers challenges American

society’s insistence on the inviolable sanctity of heterosexual

marriage by imagining an alternative queer lifestyle composed of a

woman and her doted servant. Her critique of heteropatriarchy is

also shown in her depiction of a carefree Alison before she marries

Langdon. Once a schoolteacher in Vermont, Alison lived happily

with her cats and dogs. Independent and self-sufficient, she served

herself hot chili, tea, and zwieback, and chopped her own wood

(McCullers, 2001c: 362-363). In a society of what Adrienne Rich

termed compulsory heterosexuality, Alison has no choice but to

submit to marriage, which, as McCullers acutely points out, ends

her happy days and renders her psychologically and physically

invalid.

17

In conclusion,

The Reflections in a Golden Eye

is not merely a

grotesque domestic drama; it is also not simply a circumscribed

vision of a human life bordering on abnormal psychology. On the

contrary, McCullers wants to engage nonheteronormative racial

and gender formations as the site of ruptures, critiques, and

alternatives of imperial manhood. As I have argued, sexuality and

national identity cannot be treated as discrete and autonomous

entities; the formation of sexual, gendered, racial, and class

identities have intimate relations with the formation of national

identities, and vice-versa. By rewriting the region within the

imperial framework, McCullers exposes regionalism’s hidden ties

to global politics. As shown in Penderton’s queer camaraderie with

Anacleto in their disclosure of the grandiose illusions of normalcy

as forms of oppression and McCullers’s unfavorable depiction of

17

See Rich’s “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” (1993).