Untangling (Un)Intelligible Transgender Characters in Contemporary American and British Fiction
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This thesis focuses on interrogating the manner in which trans individuals are portrayed in contemporary American and British fiction and what responsibility novels that deal in these themes have in creating narratives. The theoretical framework that guides these discussions comes from the field of transgender theory. The question that guides the thesis is: How do novels focused on representing trans experiences create their characters to be intelligible and fully realised? The discussion that this thesis is interested in is guided by first gaining an understanding of the theoretical debates around trans people before delving into the literary history of transformation, as that will inform the discussion of transitioning in the analytical chapter. The analytical chapter will provide an in-depth analysis of Bernadine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other and Jeffery Eugenides’ Middlesex. The analysis of these texts will explore how each novel characterises their protagonist and how they create intelligible depictions of the trans experience. This will allow for a conversation around the responsibility of the author in telling these often-unheard narratives. The overall work of this thesis is to engage with trans fiction and understand the effect that those narratives can have in understanding the real trans experience.