Dissecting George Miles: Objectification, the Gaze, and Ontological Uncertainty in Dennis Cooper's Closer

Wade A Bell Jr.


This article offers a close reading of Dennis Cooper's 1989 cult novel Closer. Despite focusing on the experiences of gay males, I argue that Closer transcends identity politics by problematizing the status and treatment of the other in a contemporary Western setting. In doing so, the novel explores the theme of objectification from both a superficial and ontological perspective: Superficially, the objectification of the protagonist George Miles seems to mirror the way that women are objectified under patriarchy, however, from an ontological perspective, Closer's symbolism suggests a much deeper search for meaning that precipitates from its character's ontological uncertainties. I argue that Closer engages the reader in this search by making them aware of their own gaze, thus incriminating them in a figurative search for meaning within the textualized body.


Dennis Cooper; Closer; Objectification; the Gaze; Ontology; Immanuel Kant; Emmanuel Levinas; Martha Nussbaum

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ISSN: 2000-3560