Beyond the “Glass Case of Tradition”: Depicting the Beauty and Power of Marginalized Groups, through Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood

Jessica Reimann

Abstract


This paper examines the role of a capitalist and patriarchal society on the treatment of marginalized groups, specifically individuals of transgender, through the analysis of Barnes’s Nightwood. Focusing on her use of the character, O’Connor, it suggests Barnes’s declaration that individuals who differ from social norms display beauty and power as a result of their difference. Using the research of Leslie Feinberg, Ed Madden, Jane Marcus, and Laura Veltman, as well as a comparative analysis of T.S. Eliot’s character, Tiresias, from his poem, The Waste Land, this paper argues that Nightwood is a defiant response to social norms and the institutionalization of gender.


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EISSN  1927-4599
University of Victoria