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final thoughts on Sandman

iskierka's picture

I'm still trying to figure out where I stand on this book regarding what it means overall to our main topic. Persepolis, while first and foremost an autobiography, definitely included a gender-based narrative as Marjane grew older. For my part, I couldn't see the same in The Doll's House. Certainly there was a discussion of identity - how the boarders in Rose's home presented themselves to the world versus how they dreamed themselves, in particular. And of course there were the very gendered scenarios, like the story of Dream as told by the tribesmen in the beginning (leaving me wondering how the women's half of the story in their unique language would be told), or like Rose's would-be assault at the hotel. To compare Bornstein and Gaiman, the biggest similarity would be Desire, the genderless 'sister-brother' of Dream who appears in the last few pages. And from what little I know of Desire, this agenderism could be the basis of its own discussion. Why is Desire genderless - perhaps to prove that any gender could seek the same things for whatever motive? Actually, I wonder more if Desire is every gender at once. Dream called Desire 'sister-brother' instead of 'siblings', implied a dual truth in both terms. After Desire, the next most notable example would be Ken and Barbie and their stiffly-gendered dreams. In waking life, they appear almost as a single entity, sharing thoughts and finishing sentences, but in dreams, Ken becomes aggressive and violent (stereotypically male), and Barbie enters an extravagant fairy tale world. Their most memorable interaction to me is right after they awake and Ken harshly reacts to Barbie - they seem to have fallen out of their sync, and they spend the rest of the night with a long space between them. While Desire draws the eye in a more upfront manner, I feel as though Ken and Barbie's relationship based on that scene makes more of an impact. They come off as equal in all but appearance, but after that scene, we note how deeply ingrained certain trains of thought are to them, and how in sleep-fresh wakefulness this comes to life and harms their relationship. To me, it feels as though Gaiman tells the reader to recognize one's genderedness and be upfront about it. In dreams, we have the ability to be whomever we like - to hide that true self in reality can harm our outlook on the world.