Feed on

The title reads as though it were spread across the front page of the National Enquirer. I was absolutely thrilled with this story; the stream of conscious was on point, the pacing was effective, and the complications that this boy faces feel very real. We never get his name, and although he repeats that he is not Elvis, we get a sense that he doesn’t quite believe this or perhaps he has used this reasoning in attempt to convince himself. There is definitely a connection between the narrator and his ‘tattoo’, and his mother. The fact that his mother has treated it, and therefore him, with shame, is downright childish. His mother continues to act irresponsibly and it is only when the narrator finally confronts her that she is forced to see the effects of her destructive nature.

I really wanted to take this point in the story another way, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended this way. I felt that with Tina, the narrator had realized that strangers to his ‘tattoo’ wouldn’t think anything odd about it, because he was sixteen years old and would no longer be perceived as a child subject to the whims of an Elvis crazed mother. I wanted him to awaken and loosen up and get the girl and feel confident because the ‘tattoo’ wasn’t a big deal, but that is exactly what didn’t happen. He ran away from Tina, I thought he was terrified that he couldn’t explain it and frustrated because he wanted to and she didn’t even notice.

The second thingĀ  I wanted to happen was some good old fashioned incest, which I think is implied in the story. At the end of the story, there is certainly tension between the mother and son, and I feel as though it is explicitly sexual. Could it be that the special power of the ‘tattoo’ is that somehow the spirit of Elvis is brought out in the boy and the connection between Elvis and the mother still remains? Possible, since the boy seems to know a strange amount about Elvis, and speaks as if he personally knew Elvis. “Most of them along here were black folks and Elvis had a special feel for them. They taught him his music. He always said that” (47). We are left wondering what happens after Butler leaves us with “its just mama and me and I have to lean against the door to keep from falling down” (52). Is it incest? or perhaps the spirit of Elvis saving her, stopping her actions. I am left to ponder on this one.

Comments are closed.