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In Jeanette Winterson's novel Written on the Body, the ungendered narrator leads the reader through his/her love story with Louise. At moments, the narrator appears to reveal his/her gender, but these moments only reveal the reader's own assumptions about gender and identity which prove to be social constructions, and inconclusive evidence about the narator's gender. The novel shows that gender is not an inherent part of identity, and emphasizes themes that are universal and more important than gender differences, such as biology and the body. The body proves to be beautiful and universal, and gender is an insignificant part of that poeticism. Desire is a universal emotion that has no boundaries, and loss is felt by humanity indiscriminately. Love is the ultimate motivation in life. All of these things are difficult to describe, but are things that unite the universe. Portraying this in art is more important and stable than drawing distinctions by gender.
Van De Winkle, Paige, "Identity and Gender Constructs in "Written on the Body"" (2013). Honors Theses. 2392.
Honors Thesis-Open Access