Dorian Gray And Percival Everett's Erasure

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“The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim” (Wilde 1). However, on occasion art begins beautiful and then alters negatively. This is the case in both Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Percival Everett’s Erasure. Although the stories within each are very different in nature, they are interconnected in the way that the work of art within each alters and changes. Plato stated in Phaedrus, “writing has one grave fault in common with painting; for the creations of the painter stand there true as life, and yet if you ask them a question they maintain a solemn silence. And the same may be said of written words. You would imagine that they had intelligence, but if, out of a desire to …show more content…
In The Picture of Dorian Gray Wilde writes, “When they entered they found hanging upon the wall a splendid portrait of their master as they had last seen him, in all the wonder of his exquisite youth and beauty. Lying on the floor was a dead man, in evening dress with a knife in his heart. He was withered, wrinkled, and loathsome of visage” (Wilde 229). In this passage Dorian had killed himself in an attempt to destroy his painting; in Erasure Monk desired to destroy his alter ego,“I had to defeat myself to save my self, my own identity. I had to toss a spear through the mouth of my own creation, silence him forever, kill him, press him down a dark hole and have the world admit that he never existed” (Everett 259). This ties in so beautifully to Dorian Gray’s own demise, even down to the form of murder that Monk mentions. I would now like to complicate this idea further by taking note of the symbolism here. One could say that Dorian plunging a knife into his painting’s heart evidenced his own deplorability. In that same essence, one could also say that Monk’s desire to kill his alter ego with a spear through the mouth symbolizes his hatred for the lies that he was speaking in pretending to be Stagg R. Leigh. However, just like in The Picture of Dorian Gray, Monk is unable to overcome his parody. Rather, his parody destroys him. At the end of Monk’s book Fuck, Stagg R. Leigh writes, “I say, ‘Hey, Mama.’ I say, “Hey Baby Girl. Look at me. I on TV’” (Everett 131). This mimics the end of Erasure when Monk says, “I chose one of the TV cameras and stared into it. I said, ‘Egads, I’m on television” (Everett 265). The mirroring of his own text symbolizes that Stagg R. Leigh is the surviving ego here; Monk has given up himself for his parody. In both of these novels, the parody ends up victorious over the

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