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"None of us are androgynous": Androgyny in William Faulkner's "The Wild Palms"

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Date Issued:
1998
Summary:
Androgyny in literature is not a new topic. In William Faulkner's The Wild Palms, however, the significance of androgyny as theme has been largely overlooked. Androgyny is defined as the harmonious balance derived from accepting those individual aspects defined culturally and socially as masculine and feminine beyond the physical and biological. In this novel, Harry Wilbourne, a doctor and scientist, denies his androgyny while Charlotte Rittenmeyer, his lover and a sculptor, finds comfort and harmony in both her masculine and feminine traits. Harry faces a gender identity crisis when Charlotte, pregnant, decides to abort their child. Only after Charlotte dies of a botched abortion does Harry accept his memories--his responsibility for his past life with Charlotte (a masculine characteristic)--as well as his grief--over Charlotte's death and the loss of the grand passion he shared with her (feminine emotions). Harry, reborn, becomes a man: harmonious in his androgyny.
Title: "None of us are androgynous": Androgyny in William Faulkner's "The Wild Palms".
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Name(s): Dawsey, Teresa Russell.
Florida Atlantic University, Degree grantor
Coyle, William, Thesis advisor
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Issued: 1998
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Place of Publication: Boca Raton, Fla.
Physical Form: application/pdf
Extent: 50 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: Androgyny in literature is not a new topic. In William Faulkner's The Wild Palms, however, the significance of androgyny as theme has been largely overlooked. Androgyny is defined as the harmonious balance derived from accepting those individual aspects defined culturally and socially as masculine and feminine beyond the physical and biological. In this novel, Harry Wilbourne, a doctor and scientist, denies his androgyny while Charlotte Rittenmeyer, his lover and a sculptor, finds comfort and harmony in both her masculine and feminine traits. Harry faces a gender identity crisis when Charlotte, pregnant, decides to abort their child. Only after Charlotte dies of a botched abortion does Harry accept his memories--his responsibility for his past life with Charlotte (a masculine characteristic)--as well as his grief--over Charlotte's death and the loss of the grand passion he shared with her (feminine emotions). Harry, reborn, becomes a man: harmonious in his androgyny.
Identifier: 9780591928006 (isbn), 15560 (digitool), FADT15560 (IID), fau:12320 (fedora)
Collection: FAU Electronic Theses and Dissertations Collection
Note(s): Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Thesis (M.A.)--Florida Atlantic University, 1998.
Subject(s): Androgyny (Psychology) in literature.
Faulkner, William,--1897-1962--Wild palms
Held by: Florida Atlantic University Libraries
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/15560
Sublocation: Digital Library
Use and Reproduction: Copyright © is held by the author, with permission granted to Florida Atlantic University to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Owner Institution: FAU
Is Part of Series: Florida Atlantic University Digital Library Collections.