Raising the Woman Question: Duras’s Trans*gender Child
In Marguerite Duras’s The Lover, a fifteen-and-a-half-year-old white girl pursues a sexual relationship with a twenty-seven-year-old Chinese man. . . . Like most scholars, both Schuster and Hewitt presuppose that the nameless narrator is a woman. However, reading the narrator as a woman fails to account for crucial ambiguities in the text. What about the fact that the narrator claims her younger brother’s dead body as her own? What about the scene with the man’s hat in which the narrator’s body transforms? What about Duras’s decision to depict the narrator as a distraught child? Reading the narrator as a trans*gender child accounts for these ambiguities, whereas reading the narrator as a cisgender woman does not. . . . To make my argument, I first show that the narrator does not identify as a woman. Then I give evidence that Duras depicts the narrator as a child. Finally, I draw a distinction between the narrator and her lover—both characters blur gender boundaries, but the Chinese man, unlike the white girl, cannot be characterized as a trans*gender figure. [From introductory section]
Capstone; [FULL-TEXT RESTRICTED TO WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY LOGIN]Kassie A. Scott is a member of the Class of 2018 of Washington and Lee University.