Understanding David’s relationship with Jacques

Jacques character from the beginning is a hard one to comprehend, mainly because the reader is viewing him through David’s eyes. I had a difficult time understanding my feelings for this character, do I like him? Does David even like him?

It’s interesting to think about how much time David spends with Jacque despite the handful of good things he has to say about him. As we discussed in class on Wednesday, David continually surrounds himself in gay culture despite having this aggressive distaste for it and that’s exactly what his relationship with Jacques is like. In chapter three of part one, David even asks Jacques if there is “really no other way for [him] but this?… to kneel down forever before an army of boys for just five dirty minutes in the dark?”

I think this entire scene and conversation between the two tell us something important about David. As Saarem brought up in his blog post, the literary sublime here plays a very big role.  Jacques is, as Saarem explains the sublime, “that very sense of sever grotesqueness to the point of an inability to look away.” I think David might see a little bit of himself in Jacques, or at least what he could become, and thus he is disgusted, intrigued, and maybe even scared by it. Jacques even tries to talk some sense into David, telling him that if he doesn’t accept who is now he will “end up trapped in [his] own dirty body, forever and forever and forever — like me.

I don’t believe Jacques is supposed to be a character disliked, despite his questionable actions. Instead Jacques is a character that reminds David of his internal struggle and despite him wanting to constantly run away from that, he continues on spending time in gay bars with Jacques. Why is that?

Discussion questions:

  1. Why do you think David is constantly around Jacques? Is it just for the money or something more?
  2. Is that same fear and curiosity translated to how David feels about Giovanni? Why do you think he continues the night with Giovanni despite initially wanting to “tell him that he had made a mistake”?

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