Summary of David Levinson
Summary of David Levinson
David Levinson’s short personal essay “TITLE HERE” is a reflection of his life as a gay man trying to find his identity, and ultimately his “family,” all in the context of his decision to have a child. He offers a brief biographical background—growing up in Texas, how he ended up in New York, trying to make peace with his family and himself over his sexuality, his “clichéd” gay life, etc. Levinson reports that he has often been plagued by a sense of emptiness, which he thought he knew how to fill or could fill it with meaningless encounters, but he was wrong and still that feeling persists. Levinson relays his conversation with a lesbian woman named Ruth, who at the time was trying desperately to have a child and needed a viable donor to help her conceive (which is where he came into the picture). But Levinson had severe reservations about becoming a “father,” even if all that meant was that he was donating some sperm never to be see again. This was the internal struggle which Levinson went through during his decision-making process. He ultimately decided that this plaguing sense of emptiness he had been feeling can be attributed to a lack of a real sense of family. He also decided that the very life he fled from in Texas might be the very life he longs for now—something that feels more like “normal.” So Levinson agreed to have this baby with Ruth as a first step towards this “new” life he so desires.
I think that the most significant thing about this essay is the idea of feeling incomplete, or unanchored. Levinson talks about being gay and about being a Russian Jew, but neither of these factors deter from the overall theme of this essay, which deals with a more general sense of acceptance as well as the struggle to “fit in;” essentially, the struggle to become a full-fledged adult. I think all people can relate to this struggle, because all people feel it at some point in their lives. Levinson was sick of his wild lifestyle, as many people gay and straight eventually feel, and he desired something more. He needed a stronger sense of family, and of unity, to make himself feel more complete. Really, what we are reading here is one man’s transition into adulthood. Granted, this is the personal story of a hard-partying gay man, but this could just as easily be the womanizing frat boy who, at 30, decides he wants nothing more than to get married and have children and be committed for the rest of his life. At some point all young adults have to deal with these kinds of feelings, these secret homebody yearnings, that they can’t explain, especially in light of their pasts. Levinson’s story is very relatable because of this, and his ordeal, though granted it is not traditional, speaks very much to common human experience.