In her article "Gender Performance in the Literature of the Female Beats" Gillian Thomson examines the re-negotiation of gender boundaries within Joyce Johnson's Minor Characters and Hettie Jones's Drive poems; secondary to this is how the male Beats demonstrate a more concrete, dichotomous version of such gender categories. Thomson intend to demonstrate how the women often write themselves into Beat history and how their revised performance of gender modifies the normative tropes regarding females within the Beat enclave. The theoretical backdrop focuses on how language not only records or expresses reality, but also shapes it. This is a decidedly poststructuralist reading of two excerpts of what could be called a minor literature; the women of the Beat generation appear as a subculture within a subculture. Thus, this is a project of reconstruction via the opening up of new subjective voices within this relatively obscure milieu of post-war poetics.

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