The Incredibly Gay Mr. Limpet (Hypothesis) – Alice Minium
Comrade Limpet’s journey into his true identity and the narrative arc that helped him get there, a plot that carries him from lonely man to happy fish (or species [gender] dysphoria to self-actualization) delivers a revealing commentary on Gay Identity in the 1960s.
Henry’s fabled quest is nothing less than a sociological vignette and sexual parable of homosexual desire in the 1960s and its friction with mainstream culture.
Content Warning: Things Will Never Be The Same
A groundbreaking realization hit me today,- please prepare yourselves before you continue reading, this discovery is not for the faint of heart.
My treasured childhood film that crafted five-year-old-me’s deeply held aspiration/career objective of abandoning mammalian form in favor of aquatic life- the very film that inspired me to pray to God, night after night, that I could please become a fish, and in the morning, when my wish was not granted, I literally wept with a despair I can’t explain- that film, The Incredible Mr. Limpet– is not, perhaps what it seems.
I was explaining the plot of the film to someone and how the only weirdly unfulfilling part of its ending is the unresolved narrative arc with Mr. Limpet’s wife. If you remember (from this obscure 1960s children’s movie whose plot you can clearly recall upon instant memory,) Comrade Limpet’s wife is not super stoked about his whole Becoming A Fish thing, so in a super sad but discordantly upbeat ending, she just rides out into the ocean on a flimsy little boat every few days to row alongside him as he swims freely in the ocean, leaping through the waves, singing in happiness, and, as the film puts it, “being himself” in a way ‘his life had never let him before,’ but now he could ‘follow his heart’ and ‘be free.’
The Incredible Mr. Limpet is totally a latent metaphor for repressed 1960s-era homosexuality.
Please weigh in for a civilized roundtable to discuss the implications of this shocking hot take.
+If the Gay Henry Limpet Subtext Hypothesis is true, this would fundamentally transform the field of Limpet Studies as a whole. How would the realization that HL Is Gay impact you personally, and how would you cope with the surely earth-shattering effect of this new knowledge on your life?
+Additionally, do you find this thesis plausible? (For reference in opposing arguments, please cite in Chicago Style Citation exactly one scene where Mr. Limpet is not, in hindsight, super gay.)
+Is the tale of Henry Limpet an embedded parable of nonbinary empowerment for 1960s-era youth? Does my own childhood fixation on H. Limpet and deep solidarity with his cause reveal a foreshadowing of something deeply Freudian in my own subconscious at the time?
+If TIML is not, in fact, a fable about freedom and gay empowerment, what do the film & the way H. Limpet’s victory unfolds suggest?
+Why is he animated? Is this symbolic? Does the juxtaposition of live-action film contrasted with a clearly caricatured animated depiction of H.L. as a fish seek to comment on the impossibility of integrating “heart’s desires” for gay Americans into a starkly contrasting 1960s-era landscape with no place for it?
Honestly guys, there is so much to unpack here. I hope you spend your evening reclining with a warm mug of tea in hand thinking about theoretical gay subtexts in this 1964-era film about an animated fish.
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