WHEN LANGUAGE LIMITS THE LUST: MOMENTS OF DESIRE IN UNGENDERED NARRATIVE; pp. 15–27Full article in PDF format | https://doi.org/10.3176/tr.2019.1.02
Desire knows no boundaries. However, when an author depicts an amorous scene that involves ungendered characters – those whose gender is not disclosed in the text – language creates boundaries around the desire. Desire is chained and shackled under the restriction of language in an effort to keep the gender hidden. In ungendered narrative, bodies express desire, but we never know to what gender the bodies belong. The reader is in constant search of clues to gender-segregate the bodies, but the author does not let the reader succeed. Moreover, the gendered nature of language comes to the fore, making hiding gender a daunting task for writers. The author manipulates the language to depict the lust of bodies, devoid of gender. The description of intimate moments in gendered narratives is pleasure-inducing for readers, but in ungendered narratives it becomes a thorny issue. The solution to this problem is to stop searching for clues to a character’s gender by looking beyond the binaries of gender. The lovemaking should be treated as an act that does not require the knowledge of what is between legs, but the genuine desire in the heart. This realisation makes the readers sense the same passionate experience felt by the bodies of the characters. The readers witness how love transcends the limitation of gender and achieves greater significance at the hands of writers of ungendered narratives.
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