Dean's Perspective

While little is known about Richard Chase’s personal life, even less is known about Dean Trivette. The rare insight that Trivette's perspective brings becomes paramount to understanding the complicated nature of their relationship. 

“What a pity that the full truth - + beauty - of such friendships cannot be recognized in our culture.”

Despite Chase's romanticization of Southern Appalachia, Trivette had a much more complicated relationship with his birthplace. In other letters, Chase would idealistically implore Trivette to “come home” where “you really belong” so the two could be together. Yet, here, Chase paradoxically and realistically acknowledged that homosexual relationships “cannot be recognized in our culture.” Trivette’s twin sister, Doris, recounted later that they had grown up in a deeply religious household and that Dean Trivette formed close friendships with his female teachers rather than his male peers. In all likelihood, Trivette did not feel that he belonged in “our culture” of heteronormativity and traditional masculinity. 

“Richard remembered me more as he found me and came to understand little of my doings”

Chase passed away in 1988. In what is probably the most revealing and important letter of the entire collection of correspondences, Trivette expressed condolences to Ann Chase and explained his connection to her father. The crux of their relationship is contained in just a few sentences. Trivette wrote that he wished to leave the "innocence of youth behind" when he moved away as a young college freshman, but Chase kept calling him back home. Trivette eventually realized that 'home' to Chase meant a memory of the past, in a place that no longer existed, with a different person. Tension arose because "Richard remembered me more as he found me and came to understand little of my doings." Ultimately, Trivette had grown up and changed, while an aging Chase resisted it.

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