Time maybe

“Without Bartram’s system of futures and past, Marcher could have no location in which to locate his lack. In his queer time of pure presents, he takes things as they come and therefore does not desire those things but instead experiences them in their present fullness (114Helmer).”

The lack of the past and future fails Marcher. Committing himself into a relationship with Bartram would help Marcher look forward to a future and help with the past. A strong sexual relationship never evolves and the fear that lingers through the book never really is shown in the present just in the form of the past and eventually the future. For Marcher living in the present is safe, when he starts thinking about the future the jungle and the beast makes him nervous.

Bartram wants a sexual relation with Marcher but Marcher is to afraid of what the future will hold to commit to anything. As Helmer argues Bartram is the knowledge holder for the past and future and fills in the character gaps for Marcher. Bartram fill in the past and present for Marcher. From reminding him about the past meetings to reminding him about the future with her death. In some ways Bartram is a timekeeper for Marcher.

The fact that Marcher is not in a heterosexual relationship with Bartram ( the knowledge and time holder) cause Marcher to go through time lacking substance and causes a deeper look at his sexuality/ desire. Marcher desires are hard to pinned down because they are never in the present they are either in the past or future.

“The liberation of Marcher, according to Sedgwick,depends upon his own orientation toward the closet, a closet structured around who knows and who does not know the knowledge of the protagonist’s self. This makes the construction of what counts as knowledge all the more important.”(108Helmer)

Would Marcher have been able to “escape” the beast without Bartram? I would guess, possibly. I think this is where Helmers finds the title for the essay,  “Possibly Queer Time”. Helmers argues that Marcher could be fine without Bartram but it’s the time that Bartram holds that is important to the story, that progresses the story. Marcher could possibly be queer but with Bartram holding the knowledge and in some ways writing time the timeline becomes heterosexual.

“The escape would have been to love her; then, then he would have lived.”(35)


One thought on “Time maybe”

  1. “For Marcher living in the present is safe, when he starts thinking about the future the jungle and the beast makes him nervous.” It seems Marcher is not living in the present if he is obsessing about the past and future. Wouldn’t living in the present mean being focused on who and what is in front of him? It seems what is really failing him is his lack of living in the present. Is Bartram simply an excuse to stay comfortable in his fear? It seems that the common explanation or reason Marcher is resistant to marrying or committing deeper to Bartram is his sexuality. Could it be just fear or even asexuality or is that answer not intriguing enough when it comes to literature analysis?

    “Would Marcher have been able to “escape” the beast without Bartram? I would guess, possibly.” That is an interesting concept, as if Bartram is holding Marcher back intentionally or unintentionally in the hope that Marcher’s “beasts” would go away or not longer be a stumbling block for them. On the other hand when she mentioned and acknowledged that she is his “dull woman, a part of the daily bread for which [he] pray at church” (46), it seems she is not only aware of her role in his life, but she is okay and maybe even welcomes the role. Is it her way of being of service to him? Maybe she needs the beasts to be there so that he can need and be with her. What would happen to Bartram if Marcher decides he no longer needs her and find his way without her?

    She is cared for following the death of a relative that made the acquisition of “property, to an amount that made that luxury just possible” (41) that possibly freed up time and energy to give to Marcher.


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