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skhemka's picture

Gender Of the Unconscious

While reading Sorrows Of An American, most of us confused the narrator to be a female instead of a male. In class we talked about it and raised the question of whether it was intentional on the author's part ? Whether the author wanted to mislead us into thinking it was a female narrator? I think that even though we found many clues pointing towards why we thought the narrator was a he, I do not think it was intentional on the author's part to misguide us.

The author is trying to bring out or rather portray the unconscious here. Just like Whitman's writing is about the unconscious and not the conscious. I think the goal of Siri Hustvedt is to make us realize that the unconscious has no gender and that we only try to look at things from the perspective of gender when the conscious is active.

We thought of the narrator as male because of our perception in the conscious about gender. We did the same mistake with Whitman's writing but instead of confusing the gender we confused the sexual preference of the man. We raised question of bisexuality and homosexuality with concern to Whitman. Maybe if we knew how to engage our unconscious while reading the texts we would not have made the same errors.


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