Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Nathan Snaza
In interacting with others, and particularly in intimate relationships with others, desire becomes a complex emotion entangled with the specific identifications of each person. These complications are also often shaped by social conventions, internal thoughts, and the ability to communicate. In all its narrative structures, themes, and plot points, Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name is framed by one question on this topic, stated in a time of deep conflict by the narrator: “Are ‘being’ and ‘having’ thoroughly accurate verbs in the twisted skein of desire, where having someone’s body to touch and being that someone we’re longing to touch are one and the same?” (Aciman 68). From this question alone, readers can see that Aciman is interested in working through integral questions about desire and possession through this novel. A skein in the literal sense is “a loosely coiled and knotted section of yarn or thread,” but regarding both this quote and this novel, a skein can be understood as “a tangled or complicated arrangement, state, or situation” (Lexico). Aciman uses this complicated image of a tangled and twisted loop as a frame for the ways in which his characters work through and conceptualize their desires and actions. This twisted skein is not only a cyclic image, but one that is unresolvable. Analyzing desire in Aciman’s novel may answer some questions about this skein, but will leave us with more questions as well.
This paper will move through three frames through which Elio conceptualizes and interacts with this ‘twisted skein of desire.’
Isenhour, Anthony, "A Twisted Skein of Desire: Confession, Gaze, and Time in Andre Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name" (2020). Honors Theses. 1490.