In this article I investigate how "Middlesex" hints at the possibility of overcoming the racial and sexual binaries imposed by the Western dualistic system of thought by positing the existence of a third, hybridized identity living in an inbetween space. The metaphor of hybridity is one of the central concerns of the novel under a formal and a thematic perspective. In focusing on the story of the intersex protagonist of the novel, I demonstrate that "Middlesex" investigates ethnic and sexual dualities but, in so doing, it does not configure the opening of 'third space' where mixed races and intersex identities can coexist, as some critics have argued. Instead, the novel ostensibly reinforces the gender binary structure instead of opening up a textual and discursive space for the intersex hybrid body of the protagonist. In this article I discuss how the novel re-affi rms the dualistic thinking it seems to subvert – thus showing the gap between theoretical premises about subjectivity conceived as pure, abstract difference, and corporeal practice. In particular, I focus on the close connection between narrative structure, narrative voice and gender and bodily construction. The two main narrative threads which make up the novel eventually defy this expectation and endorse ethnic assimilation on the one hand, and support the causal relation between sex, gender and sexuality on the other. On a formal level, even though the text shows some experimental, hybrid characteristics such as the narrative voice, the structure of the novel retains its dualistic nature, as the stories are chronologically connected but do not ultimately confl ate into a fi nal, ‘hybridized’ text. In other words, I will show how a supposedly transgressive narrative can remain within the confines of a normative discourse.

Narrating the Intersex Body in Jeffrey Eugenides' "Middlesex"

ANTOSA, SILVIA
2012

Abstract

In this article I investigate how "Middlesex" hints at the possibility of overcoming the racial and sexual binaries imposed by the Western dualistic system of thought by positing the existence of a third, hybridized identity living in an inbetween space. The metaphor of hybridity is one of the central concerns of the novel under a formal and a thematic perspective. In focusing on the story of the intersex protagonist of the novel, I demonstrate that "Middlesex" investigates ethnic and sexual dualities but, in so doing, it does not configure the opening of 'third space' where mixed races and intersex identities can coexist, as some critics have argued. Instead, the novel ostensibly reinforces the gender binary structure instead of opening up a textual and discursive space for the intersex hybrid body of the protagonist. In this article I discuss how the novel re-affi rms the dualistic thinking it seems to subvert – thus showing the gap between theoretical premises about subjectivity conceived as pure, abstract difference, and corporeal practice. In particular, I focus on the close connection between narrative structure, narrative voice and gender and bodily construction. The two main narrative threads which make up the novel eventually defy this expectation and endorse ethnic assimilation on the one hand, and support the causal relation between sex, gender and sexuality on the other. On a formal level, even though the text shows some experimental, hybrid characteristics such as the narrative voice, the structure of the novel retains its dualistic nature, as the stories are chronologically connected but do not ultimately confl ate into a fi nal, ‘hybridized’ text. In other words, I will show how a supposedly transgressive narrative can remain within the confines of a normative discourse.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11387/112191
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact