Saturday, January 9, 2016


We have been reading a lot about prostitution in relation to the underground man. On a side note, I recently found a book about prostitution. My grandparents own a old plantation home (built in 1874) in Mississippi. In the library of the house, I stumbled upon a book titled "For Money or for Love: Boy Prostitution in America. I know, weird right? I flipped through the book and skimmed a few pages. In my brief readings, I found out that these young male prostitutes were very popular during the '40s thru the '60s. At one point the author discusses his attempts to save the young men from prostitution. This reminded me of the Underground Man's conversation with Liza. Other things I saw in Boy Prostitution in America include the boys nicknames. The prostitutes were called "Chickens" and their customers "Chikenhawks." The title of this blog post is a snippet of a newspaper article that was a image in the book. The book was really weird and I was kind of uncomfortable reading it, but it reminded me of the UM.


Cheyenne Dwyer said...

If you accept that this is sort of a stretch, this could be kind of ironic. According to your book, the prostitutes are the ones called chickens, but in Underground, UM is the chicken in the story. He's so scared of others and how they think of him that he lashes out and acts destructively, while Liza is a lot more cool headed, and I'm sure she had to be pretty brave to get through what she's gotten through. UM is even scared of Liza, and compares her to some sort of predatory animal in his descriptions, and overall describes her in a creepy and unnatural way until we see her light up when she shows him the letter. I think this reveals his initial fear of her even while he's trying to assert his dominance over her. I think UM is kinda cowardly, especially with the way he deals with his problems. I think UM is the real chicken.

Jac said...

UM and male prostitutes also have this in common: low self esteem or just general lack of self respect. UM doesn't appreciate his true self worth. He constantly questions others, trying to validate his choices. He does things in order to spite himself and leads to little pleasure for himself. Male prostitutes, too, could be seen as self-belittling. They only perform sexual actions to gain money, not any real joy. Some would even view their acts as negative to society, Similar to UM's role in society.