THE BREAKDOWN OF GENDER BINARIES THROUGH THE TRANSGENDERED SUBJECT IN ANGELA CARTER?S THE PASSION OF NEW EVE AND JEANETTE WINTERSON?S WRITTEN ON THE BODY

Abstract

Author(s): Sezgi ZTOP HANER

In Gender Trouble, Judith Butler asked, “[i]s the breakdown of gender binaries… so monstrous, so frightening, that it must be held to be definitionally impossible and heuristically precluded from any effort to think gender?” (Butler, 1990: viii) As a starting point this question is used to look at the way that gender is understood and unsettled in contemporary British fiction, specifically in Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve (1977) and Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body (1994). In this respect, Carter’s The Passion of New Eve demonstrates how the subjects are already transgendered and continuously reshaping the material world through the reconceptualization of the transgendered subjects. On the other hand, Winterson’s Written on the Body urges the reader to consider how possible to discuss sex and sexuality of the narrator when his/her gender is never exposed and how the reader constitutes an identity for the narrator and an entrance into the text in the absence of sex. Then, this study will show that how gender ambiguity created by the presence of a gender-undeclared, nameless narrator of Written on the Body, together with the trans narrator of The Passion of New Eve, enable the reader to interrogate gender dynamics and to reconsider the categories of sex and sexuality with alteration in mind.

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