He is a Sister: The Monstrous (De)Construction of the Sex/Gender Binary in Iain Banks' The Wasp Factory

Vikki Winkler

The english language 498: Honours Thesis

Advisor: Dr . Jodey Castricano

Mar 31, 2008

If it is suitable to establish " ideology” as what constitutes cultural, cultural, and political order, then perhaps it can be declared as a genre, the Gothic paradoxically the two challenges and reinforces the soundness of these seemingly " fixed” structures and, similarly, that it both interferes with and reifies what one particular deems " normal” or perhaps " natural” in american industrial culture. In this way, the Gothic features as both equally a noun and a verb, and can be equated to Queer Theory in that that " queers” heteronormative " truth” says. The Medieval may apparently stabilize the " natural” order because most works of fiction, and now videos, end with all the eradication of any " monsters” that have posed a threat to society. Nevertheless , it is the presence of the " monster” to begin with that gives a single pause. You can argue that the Gothic is the repository of all that may be repudiated in society since " unnatural, ” and, in effect, becomes the binary opposite of what american society believes intelligible and legit. In general, binaries function as ideological absolutes and exist in pairs which can be contingent using one another for their meaning. However , one half with the pair is often privileged factory-like, " true, ” and desirable percentage of the match, and the other half takes the positioning of " other, ” undesirable, and an astigmatisme of the " original. ” Therefore , ideas of what constitutes socio-cultural reality and what constitutes the Medieval depend on this kind of relationship of terminal opposites. That being said, I will argue that even though the Gothic generally seems to perform the dual or double function of stabilizing and destabilizing ordered devices, it ultimately becomes a deconstructive tool that exposes american heteronormative, taxonomic, teleological, epistemological, and biblical systems that operate discursively to construct socio-cultural " best practice rules. ” With such a dual function in mind, Let me use the Gothic through Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein; or maybe the Modern Prometheus as a zoom lens to examine the social, social, and personal order of Iain Banks's The Wasp Factory with the aim of deconstructing ideologies adjacent the " natural” and the manifestation of the Other specifically in regards to a heteronormative sex/gender system. As being a Gothic novel, The Wasp Factory queers or " gothicizes” the apparent stableness of heteronormativity and the structure of binary oppositions. I will argue that even though the novel appears to subvert sex/gender categories, this ultimately reinforces them through his main character, Frank Cauldhame. Throughout the novel, Banking institutions shows that the " obvious” incontestability of sex and gender as two (and only two) possibilities is definitely an excessive notion since there are slippages and categorical exceptions at every switch; Frank's hypermasculine identity is definitely clouded by simply " female” biology. Yet , the novel returns for an essentialist and/or " biology is destiny” perspective at the novel's conclusion. Iain Banks's novel, The Wasp Manufacturer, written in 1984, grapples in part with all the longstanding essentialist-constructionist debate: Is man/woman born or made? Banks's main character, Outspoken Cauldhame, must come to terms with staying socialized like a male though s/he1 was developed with " female” genitalia. Angus, Frank's father, can be described as renegade doctor of biochemistry and biology who, after his partner leaves him, decides to experiment on Frank with hormone therapy. Angus produces a bizarre account around the traumatisme of Frank's " male” genitalia with a dog known as Saul. Once Frank was developed, Angus decided not to register h/er birth. As a result, Frank grew up without a delivery certificate, Nationwide Insurance amount, or any formal documentation " to say [he was] surviving or [had] ever existed” (Banks 10). Angus Cauldhame keeps Honest in online isolation...

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