Because David and Giovanni’s relationship is predominantly confined to the privacy of the small and squalid room that Giovanni rents on the outskirts of Paris, the room itself signifies the hidden and shame-ridden nature of their affair. Although people like Jacques and Guillaume know that David and Giovanni are together, their relationship remains more or less secretive. David’s girlfriend, Hella, knows nothing about it despite the fact that David has been living in Giovanni’s room for months by the time she returns to Paris. At one point, David tells Giovanni that he wishes they could leave the room behind, since it’s so stiflingly small, which parallels David’s underlying desire to escape the equally stifling expectations that society places on him (and thus, that he places on himself) to be heterosexual. This desire is in keeping with David’s tendency to view relocation as a means by which he can escape his problems, since he only suggests that they move once their relationship (and his insecurities about his sexual identity) hits a rough patch. And though they don’t actually move, David continues to see the room as an overbearing place, feeling as if the walls and clutter are closing in on him. In this manner, the room comes to represent how overwhelmed David is by his effort to conceal his sexual identity as a gay man—an endeavor that makes him feel boxed into a secret and restricted existence.
The timeline below shows where the symbol Giovanni’s Room appears in Giovanni’s Room. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1: Chapter 3
...Guillaume and Jacques at the restaurant, Giovanni insists that David should come back to his room, which is a small lodging on the outskirts of Paris. Refusing to entertain any other... (full context)
Part 2: Chapter 1
Part 2: Chapter 2
Part 2: Chapter 3
Part 2: Chapter 4
...clearly unsettled by Giovanni’s raw emotion. David tells her that they’ve simply been sharing a room, explaining that Giovanni is only his roommate and, as such, doesn’t deserve to be so... (full context)