When I read the first few chapters of Graceland, I thought I had pegged the character Elvis. Elvis loves to dance, loves music, and seems very attached to women but not in an overtly sexual way. I had pegged Elvis as either a closet homosexual or transvestite. Upon closer reading, I think that the idea of Elvis being a transvestite is actually Elvis wanting to be more like people from westernized countries. Though, I can’t wait to read the rest of the book and see the outcome!
The emphasis on masculinity and gender roles around Elvis and his environment remind me of Things Fall Apart. Elvis’s father is very much like Okonkwo’s father in Things Fall Apart because he is a drunkard and lost his masculinity. Though Elvis’s father prizes masculinity, and wishes his son to be a man, Sunday loses his masculinity when he cannot afford rent or take care of his own child.
Elvis steps up and takes care of himself which makes him a man. When he gave the rent money to Comfort, Elvis demonstrated his masculinity. Even though Elvis puts on make-up and likes to dance, he exhibits more masculinity than his father. In this, I believe that Elvis is demonstrating the western idea of blurring the lines of gender, but still functioning in society. During the eighties when the Lagos scenes take place in the book, the pop culture in the U.S. Praised men in bands who wore lipstick, eyeliner, and tight jeans. The lines of gender were being blurred in the states, and Elvis wanted to be more western or modern by studying films, dance classes, and wearing make-up.