In the short story Territory by David Leavitt, the
main characters are Neil, Barbara and Wayne.
Barbara is Neils mother, and throughout the story
Neil has always wanted his mothers acceptance and
love. However, his mother was always too busy to
spend time with him. There was always a cause
which she had to support, that would take her away
from spending time with Neil. Therefore, their
relationship became very superficial, and they
would make their appearance together in town to
show that they were a close family. Neil slowly
comes to realize that they are actually on two
different ends of the spectrum. He begins to
realize this when he decides to bring Wayne, his
lover, home to meet his mother.
From the time Neil
came out to his family his mother has been very
distant to him. His mother Barbara, tried to show
that she supported him by going to a gay parade.
Though Neil soon realizes that it is all just for
show. When a drag queen comes to say hello to his
mother, Barbara gives a look of disgust. Neil
notices this and knows that his mother will never
accept him for the way he is. When he gets older
he decides to get away from the town and from his
mother, so he can be himself. He moves to New York
where everyone is accepted.
With being gone for so
long Neil decides to go home to visit his mother
to see if she is the same way as when he left.
Neil arrives at his mothers house, still looking
for that acceptance and love from his mother that
he had always yearned for as a child. Not knowing
what to expect from his mother, he brought his
boyfriend Wayne of ten months home to meet her.
Neil was nervous and also very curious, not
knowing how his mother would react with having
Wayne by his side. His mother Barbara, put on a
superficial smile and welcomed Waynes arrival. She
never lets anyone know how she really feels about
the situation. Neil wants his mothers acceptance,
but she continues to push him away. Until, Neil
gets her alone in the garden and she finally
begins to open up.
She starts to tell him that she
does not agree with what he is doing, having Wayne
or even any man as a lover. Though as quickly as
she opens up she begins to shut down and walks
away as if nothing has happened. This is a turning
point for Neil, because he realizes that he will
never be accepted by his mother, and he knows it
is time to move on. Neil says bye to his mother,
knowing that he will not be returning. It is time
for his mother and for Neil to move on with their
lives. With coming to this conclusion about his
mother, that she will never accept his sexuality.
Neil begins to accept and learn about himself.
is able to be more affectionate with Wayne in
public, because he is becoming more comfortable
with who he is. A whole new life begins to open up
for Neil, that he could never see before. With
closing the door on his mother he can now see
where his life can begin. Neil and his mother have
been distant and superficial to each other since
Neil came out to his family. His mother is unable
to give Neil the love and support that he is
wanting and searching for. He realizes this and
decides that it is time to break away from his
mother and live his own life.
When he says his
final goodbyes to his mother they both know that
they will not be seeing each other again. It is a
relief and also a very heart wrenching situation
for both of them. Neil knows that this is for the
best, and he can now move on with his life with
Wayne. Without his mother, he can now begin to
accept himself for who he is. Where as before, he
was not able to because he needed his mothers
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