Sunday, October 12, 2008

GOd Lives in St. Petersburg

I personally found this to be a very interesting read. Aside from the sexual innuendos, there are numerous disturbing situations that the authors mentions. It is pretty clear that there is much racial tension in the city the protagonist, Timothy, is currently residing. The people of the town have gone through some very trying times, and many of the racial conflicts are continually present in present. They are even obstructing the mind of the adolescents in this story. The conflict between Suzanne and Rustam explicitly describes the tension that is created because of the difference between the two individuals. The protagonist tries to corrects this; however, he tends to give up whenever his efforts seems futile.
Another rather interesting situation is the image Americans have in this story. Americans are viewed as pure hope for a better life. To live in America means to have all the opportunities afforded to you and to be able to live life to its full potential. This is the idea of many of the characters in the story. Even Suzanne's mother saw the opportunities an individual would have if they were able to travel to America. This can also be viewed as the residents of the city have lost all hope and faith in it. Their country has betrayed them, allowed them to suffer, and they seek redemption elsewhere.
Now the most disturbing situations was the mentioning of homosexual and pedophilic activities. Now I'm not saying homosexuality is a bad thing; but considering his reasons Timothy traveled to this new country and his religious belief completely contradicts his behavior. He is torn between what his body naturally wants, and what his morals say about doing such acts. Also the age of one of the individual Timothy is consenting to having sex with is completely shocking. Timothy had no right to have sex with someone of that age, and, to make matters worse, it was a student of his. i was extremely bothered by this situation and was appalled by the actions of this character.


Benjamin Humphreys said...

I think that Ronald makes a lot of solid points about God Lives in St. Petersburg, but doesn't use the actual sexual innuendos to give him points validity. These innuendos give us insight into the mind of the protagonist, as well as into the mind set of the culture.
In Ronald's second paragraph he discusses the image that Americans have in this culture. They are expressed as a way out of this place. But isn't it a little strange how this man from Green Bay, Wisconsin is seen as a way out, and through out this entire story he himself is trying to find a way to free himself from himself? However, back to Ronald's point about the image Americans portray in the eyes of these people. Suzzana's mother is in dire need to get her daughter out of this country. So in her mind an American is a gate way to freedom. But Timothy isn't even free in his own mind, how can he ever be truly free. He is caught between what he wants, desires, and with what he has been force to believe is right. In the story the image an American is portrayed as way of having a better life, but in all actuality this American may seem strong, but he is in a war with himself.
Ronald does bring up the idea of homosexuality in this story. Is the protagonist homosexual? It is hard to tell because he does portray himself as bisexual. The evidence i tend to lean on is the in depth description of his experience with Rustam, opposed to his not even remotely vivid experience with Suzanna. I believe he is homosexual and that is where a lot of his struggles lay. He believes in one thing but cannot shake himself of his innate sexuality. I believe this story could be subtly harping on the issue of homosexuality; is it innate, or is it a choice? The author gives a lot of evidence supporting that he believes it is an innate characteristic not a choice.
This story says a lot about sexual issues, ones struggles, and devotion to religion. I cannot say that i throughly enjoyed this story, but for the section that weren't overly graphic, it is a good depiction of a man who is having his faith challenged.

Chris McDougal said...

i agree with what ronald is saying.
the vision these people have of america is that it is i perfect place. in the eyes of the kids in timothy's class he was always right. there was nothing that he could have done wrong in front of his class. even after timothy hits rustam the class thinks that he is right for having done so. these people were suffering in their country and needed hope. america was that hope for them. susanna's mother was even willing to give up her own daughter to a stranger as long as she got to go to america. talk about all hope being lost.
i did not care for the sexual innuendos in the story. to me they were just so extremem for such a short story. he was constantly struggling within himself to do the right thing but never could. its almost as if he has multiple personality disorder. his mind knows whats right but his body will not follow his mind.