Have you watched Breakfast on Pluto starring Cillian Murphy and Liam Neeson based on the same-titled book by Patrick McCabe? Did you taste the passion of asexuality and the common sense of rejecting your gender? No? Then you still have a time to do that!
Breakfast on Pluto reveals the essence of its main character, Pussy Braden, through four basic aspects. The first issue is the bizarre nature of her parentage. The second feature is defined by being a bombing suspect. Third, her attempts to find the mother. Finally, her will to search for love. Pussy’s identity is basically represented by the last element, being in love, which describes her nature as rather controversial.
From the very beginning of the story, Pussy is shown as a very charming, sensitive, but at the same time sexual female. Well, actually a transwoman, but let us define the main character as “she”. On the other hand, the author stresses her asexual essence. So, it’s hard to believe that a girl who lacks sexual attraction can be sexual enough.
There are moments in Pussy’s behavior which contradicts each other. The reader knows her attitude to true love. At the same time, it does not prevent her from cheating on her lover when portraying a woman’s dead son. Her role in that situation might serve as an excuse, but yet convincing. In my understanding, vulgar behavior does not match romantic nature. Vice versa, a pathetic life story of this girl makes us empathize and believe her.
Perhaps, it is also hard to perceive romantic and sentiment character of the main heroine due to the I.R.A. terrorism topic discussed in the book. This secondary plot line is traced through the entire novel. Love and terrorism cannot coexist. Seems like this idea is wholly supported by the author.
Regardless Barden’s selfish being, her views toward love are pretty much open, innocent and surprisingly unselfish. Love uncovers the real identity of the main character. Without this feeling, Pussy would look like a lost, lonely outsider boy from a small town. Most probably, no one would perceive the transwoman seriously without specifying her sensitive nature and search of eternal love. Her unflinching optimism in the search for big love creates hope.
The break-even point of his becoming is the murder of his first big love, a local politician, after which Pussy cannot find a worthy substitute for a while. She continues dating a different man, a lot of different men. But every single one is not worth a penny: violent and rude Silky, who just tries to strangle poor Pussy; possessive and disturbing Bertie, who is looking for a harmony. To my mind, the basic reason for Pussy to stay alone is the disability of finding “a golden mine”: something between cruel and too much faithful. From time to time, Pussy starts dating female characters as her landlady. But these relationships remind more a mother-son tie than a true romanticism.
Anyway, Pussy seems a rather pragmatic person: “Please! Please you’ll come and stay with me!” “Oh, I don’t know about that now! A girl’s got to think of her future, Bertie, darling!” “I’ll give you anything you want!” “You will…?” (McCabe 79).
In chapter 52, however, it looks like Patrick has finally found his ideal in the face of Brendan Cleeve. His superficial attraction is expressed in the chapter’s title “I’m in Love”. The song Pussy sings to Charlie reflects her concept of the love: a grandiose thing, as something that will take her to strange and exotic places.
Being too much obsessed by the "lovely ice-cream pink mohair sweater and gorgeous black pleated miniskirt" (McCabe 39), Pussy creates an image of a frivolous and giddy person. At the same time, we can consider such behavior as his shield, a way to hide true feelings.
After the series of taunts every transwoman usually faces, there is no wonder fragile, and unsecured Pussy has to protect her rights alone. “Who or what are you?” (McCabe 193) illustrates the people’s attitude towards transsexuality.
Pussy perception of love as a phenomenon is based on her romanticized Irishness. An author does not miss a chance to point at the traditional features of an own nation. So, the main character is also a way to perform deep patriotic feelings and Irish freedom-loving and fearless spirit. A love for the motherland is just another type of love. Through the concept of Barden’s love search, McCabe expresses the hope of Irish nation that has never faded during the prosperous nation’s history.
Taking into account only her real goals and desires, the only thing she ever wanted was building stable relationships with a good and reliable man. A painful historical background forces Pussy be strong and rude instead of revealing her femininity. By the way, a lot of her actions can be explained by her self-evaluation. A vision of asexuality and true relationships from the perspective of Patrick "Pussy” Braden, a transvestite prostitute from Tyreelin, differ from the generally accepted standards. For instance, Pussy used to claim she is "not the slightest bit interested in politics at all” (BP 142). From this phrase, we can understand her attitude to politics. The book is rather a response to the national and gender boundaries than a political overview. That’s why the concept of the main character is focused more on human feelings and emotions.
In the end, a reader finds Pussy being all alone still dreaming of a man and child. I guess that is an unfair outcome for such a brave, sweet lady.
One thing has no doubts: bombings become a regular occurrence as a response to the life injustice in the shape of Pussy’s lovers murders.
To conclude, I should say that Pussy’s love is represented through three different ways: patriotism, idealizing parents, and searching for the beloved man. Each manifestation of love in her case plays a significant role in determining herself. Everything of these forms of love makes her suffer and disclose her inner feelings. So, throughout the novel, Pussy struggles for being in love. But we can say that it’s about being in love with an imaginary man, her mother, her close friends, land, justice, and equity altogether. It’s not only about a traditional affair between man and woman. That’s why her character is so interesting to observe and analyze.