Coming Through Slaughter Themes

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Sex

Sex is to be expected to loom large in a novel set in New Orleans' red-light district, and it does. Michael Ondaatje opens Coming through Slaughter with delicious anecdotes about 19th-century prostitution. Protagonist Charles ("Buddy") Bolden "marries" without legal registration a prostitute, Nora Bass, who seems to have serviced most of his musician friends. Buddy arranges for his photographer friend, E. J. Bellocq, to photograph prostitutes as part of his fetish hobby, but they are reticent and worn out from a night's work. Eventually they agree and he produces works of beauty, aiming at exposing their spirits rather than capturing them (for added compensation) in grotesque, overtly sexual poses. Some bear the scars of patron's violence, but they do not appear a particularly oppressed lot. Later Buddy wanders through the waterfront and sees whores who have been exiled from the District and form a truly lamentable, dispirited caste...

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This section contains 1,447 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Coming Through Slaughter Study Guide
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