The Role of Love in Breakfast on Pluto
The Role of Love in Breakfast on Pluto
The novel, Breakfast on Pluto, is a fictional narrative that focuses on the setting of Northern Ireland during the 1960s and 1970s. However, much of its content is centered on Patrick “Pussy” Braden. The story recounts the life of the protagonist within the fictional town of Tyreelin. Interestingly, Breakfast on Pluto elicits an exclusive and controversial narrative since Braden is a transvestite. With such a condition, Braden’s story begins from her abandonment as a baby by her mother and receiving null acknowledgment from her father, who was the village’s priest at the time. With the desire to be acknowledged by someone, Pussy hopelessly transitions from her village to London in the hopes of finding a person that loves her despite her physical flaws. Throughout the novel, Pussy searches for her identity while defining what love really is to her, which eventually assumes a role in allowing her to find her true self.
Due to her condition as a transgender woman, love constitutes a power that Pussy longs to possess. This is based on the way she faced several instances of rejection even from her own biological parents (McCabe, 1998). As such, the aspect of parental love was incapable of manifesting between her and the guardians that evidently left her. In addition, her own foster mother does not illustrate any form of emotion or affection towards her. This is based on the conditions through which she raises Pussy, which are undeniably atrocious (McCabe, 1998). Additionally, her denial of love is represented by her inability to have children that she will love. Even when she becomes attached to men such as her political boyfriend and Dr. Terrence, within her complex life, they are somehow taken from her unwillingly through death or abandonment (McCabe, 1998). Hence, the force of love for Pussy is a facet that she has always desired, despite it being consistently inaccessible to her.
Aside from Pussy’s view of love as a power that cannot attain, for her, love is also a transformative dimension that modifies her into an unselfish, caring, and thoughtful person. This is represented considerably by her desire to have children. Accordingly, the biological predicaments encountered by Pussy are connected with her crave for childbearing irrespective of her impossibility. In light of this, she even states that, “If I did somehow manage to get a vagina, one thing I was certain of, and I didn’t care even who it was with, was that I wanted at least ten of a family” (McCabe, 1998; p. 40). The yearning to possess numerous children is influenced largely by Pussy’s need to feel loved. Nonetheless, she is unable to find it because of the temporal relationships she develops via her act of prostitution (McCabe, 1998).
Consequently, this need to bear and nurture children is based on her beliefs regarding the enduring nature of love even after death. Pussy is convinced that even in her time of sickness of death, her children will still endeavor to be in her presence irrespective of whether it would be her last time. Such an act influences her to perceive the presumed actions of her would-be children as an indicator of real love. Regardless of her selfish disposition, Pussy’s perspectives regarding love are significantly transparent and unexpectedly considerate. Even though she desires children for the sake of love, she is also aware of the continuity of this particular facet even after her demise. In fact, she is convinced that when other people see her love for the children she has borne, none of them will question the originality of her children due to the absence of a vagina (McCabe, 1998).
Apart from her definition of love and its influence, love also assumes an imperative role in distorting her own identity via participation in different relationships. Her crave for it creates situations that are possibly awkward and uncomfortable even for her. In this context, the confusion that arises from her biological flaws is modified by love based on her meaningful associations with both women and men. For example, Pussy engages in a relationship with a man she names Bertie, who occupies the same residence with Louise, his landlady. Louise’s son died in a bus accident. Moreover, her husband usually abandons her. Amid, all that, Pussy ends up comforting Louise, which eventually leads to a complex love triangle between her, Bertie, and Louise. Furthermore, the relationship between Louise and Pussy embodies a concoction of sexual and maternal love (McCabe, 1998). Despite her reservations regarding the association, she becomes accustomed to it.
Regardless of distorting effect of love on Pussy’s identity, this respective aspect eventually allows Pussy to see herself as an individual similar to any other despite of her biological disparities. This is best illustrated by the empathy she experiences towards a woman called Martina. In this situation, Pussy is convinced that Martina will experience significant heartbreak since she assumes that Tommy is only thinking of himself. As such, she advises her to force Tommy into wearing a condom while they engage in sex. However, her pleas are ignored when she discovers that Tommy did not use a condom based on the semen, which had spilled over a leaf (McCabe, 1998). In this respect, it is evident that Pussy’s perspectives on love allow her to be empathetic and hopeful despite the fact that love itself can be a disappointing factor especially if it used for manipulation or self-attainment incentives.
In conclusion, the theme of love in Breakfast on Pluto illustrates the extent to which love comprises a definitive force in the life of Pussy Braden. For the protagonist, love comprises a power that she longs for, yet she cannot attain irrespective of her flaws. Secondly, love also assumes an imperative role in Pussy’s life. This is particularly based on the way it disrupts her selfish tendencies and interestingly, enables her to exude empathy towards other people involved in the same love that she is looking for consistently. In the end, regardless of her flaws and incapability, it is evident that love remains as a possibility for every individual.
McCabe, P. (1998). Breakfast on Pluto: A novel. New York, NY: Harper Collins.
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