Stifled Desire and the Rise of the Chicken

I went into reading Slow Cold Chick thinking that maybe I would finally understand Nalo Hopkinson.  While I’m not sure if that actually happened, I did notice that a recurring theme in her stories, at least in the ones we’ve read, is desire.  In Riding the Red this was seen through the grandmother and her almost obsessive desire to meet with Wolfie, and in this story, it is seen through the character of Blaise and her denial to act on these desires.

Blatant sexual imagery is seen throughout the story, especially in the description of the Venus-built lady and the reaction of the flowers to her touch.  I took the “swollen red roses” and the flowers “shivering delicately at her touch” to be a representation of Blaise’s own sexual desire and her wish to be touched or caressed by the woman next door.

The rotting food and strange chick creature symbolize Blaise’s entrapment and stifled personality.  Blaise can’t even get rid of her creepy neighbor. It’s not until the chick enters the room that the neighbor is vaporized.  The chick grows throughout the story, starting as something weak and feeble and blossoming into this giant creature.  This could be a manifestation of  Blaise’s desires or stifled personality that is refusing to be ignored.  Blaise is coming into her own throughout the story.  When she finally confronts the creature as it’s about to kill Johnny she accepts herself and breaks her self-imposed wall.  The chick shoving itself down her throat stuck with me.  The transformation is not purely mental but physical as well.  Slow Cold Chick is more than a story about sexual desire.  It is a story about self-realization and acceptance.

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One Response to Stifled Desire and the Rise of the Chicken

  1. alblanken says:

    I love how you mentioned the description of the Venus-built lady with the reactions of the flowers to her touch as having a very strong sexual context. The first time I read through the story, I did not think twice of the reaction of the flowers’ description as representing sexual desire or really representing any aspect of sexuality. The second time I read the story, I thought how the words used to describe the flowers exemplify sexual desire and sexuality and also how oblivious I was to not realize their importance. I think it would be difficult to read this story without the sexual context and interpret the flowers’ reaction to the touch. How would the description of the flowers’ reaction to the touch of the Venus-built lady be interpreted if the context of sexuality was taken out of the story?

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