The seventy-four pages went by amazingly fast. I would read this book in a non-academic setting. However, since this a setting, I found a couple of themes in it.
The first section (pages 1-22) dealt with the sea and sailor imagery in a unique way. It is odd to look back and glimpse the creation of a gay archetype. In Querelle Genet shed some light as to why gay men flocked to the seas.
" …it allows him to assume dark continents where the sun sets and rises , where the moon sanctions murder under roofs of bamboo… it gives him the opportunity to act within the illusion of a mirage,,," p4
Genet is discussing when the criminal wears a sailor suit, allowing him to pass as a sailor.
The idea of passing as someone else reoccurs. That even if you are gay you can pass as straight by subjugating women. The coupling of these two ideas is found is the interaction between Roger and Gilbert
"She gives you the hots eh?
-a couple lines later
Gil turned to face the boy and forced him to retreat into the recess in the stone wall.
This idea is repeated on pages 59 and 60. This is where the game is introduced, later it is explained as a sexual dice game.
That if you win you can have sex with the Madam, if you lose you have to have sex with Nono first.
Another theme or question that came to mind.. Is the link between Querelles sexuality and deviant behavior. He is smuggler, a thief , a murder. Does an audience lump in his homosexual behavior in with these traits?
We, as modern readers in a Gay French Lit class can easily separate his sexuality from his behavior, we do not see the causation effect, but did readers in 1948? Did they link homosexuality with drugs, theft and murder?
The logic is
If gay sailors are criminals, and being a sailor is not criminal in nature, there for being gay is.