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hpolak's picture

sexual orientation

The story of Callie and her relationship with the Obscure Object illustrates the concept of sexual orientation in this book. During the school year, Callie had developed strong feelings for her classmate but didn't feel as though they were reciprocated. The two girls began spending time together when they were both cast in a school play. They became close, and Callie was very happy about this. In the summer, the Obscure Object invites Callie to her summer home. After the Object's short fling with Rex Reese and Callie's with Jerome, their own relationship begins to develop. They begin to experiment with each other's bodies. When they are caught in this act by Jerome, the Object becomes very upset. Jerome accuses them of being "carpet munchers," and uses the term very negatively like they are doing something extremely wrong. Callie becomes defensive and initiates a fight with Jerome.

I think this situation shows the low tolerance level of the Object's family for exploration of sexual orientation, and indirectly refers to the majority of people at the time.  The Object seems to feel helpless like a small child when Jerome accuses her of being a lesbian. It seems as though her traditional family had pushed her into a certain role her whole life (with heterosexuality being one of the necessary requirements) and when she attempted to break free she did not know how to defend herself. Callie, on the other hand, seemed to feel very sure of her sexual orientation and was not ashamed or unable to handle the situation. 

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