The Immoralist Themes

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Homosexuality

The central theme of The Immoralist is the growing self-awareness of a repressed homosexual whose natural inclinations are at odds with societal conventions. Gide's narrative is based partly on his own experiences as a young man whose sexless marriage came into conflict with his homosexual tendencies. Written nearly a century ago, The Immoralist describes Michel's process of self-realization in subtle, veiled terms. There is no direct reference in the novel to homosexuality, but only indirect hints regarding Michel's physical attraction to adolescent boys and his general lack of interest in maintaining a sexual relationship with his wife. However, the closing lines of the novel are the most direct indication of Michel's homosexuality: Michel loses interest in a female prostitute, and indicates that he prefers the "odd caress" of the girl's brother Ali.

Self-Discovery

Michel's narrative describes a journey of self-discovery. Until his marriage, Michel had lead a very...

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The Immoralist from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.