This article analyzes the affective politics of rage and resilience in the novel For Today I Am a Boy (2014) by Kim Fu. The novel explores the dis-identification (Muñoz 1999) of gender identity through the protagonist, focusing on the rage, sadness, fear, and secrecy that function as the glue holding the body together, but that also work to constrain the process of self-identification. The novel is not the celebration of self-realization, nor is it the lamentation of a traumatized protagonist. Instead, the narrative pays attention to the various ways in which non-binary, or non-normative gender identities are marginalized, and to how the celebratory patina of “transgressive exceptionalism” (Halberstam 2005) applies only to those whose gender identities work to “redo” rather than “undo” gender (Butler 2004) systems that, for those who do not fit within the mandates, are subjected to violent economies of exclusion which are made manifest in Fu’s novel. Central to this area of inquiry is the way in which the “negative affects” (Love 2007) that circulate within the novel demonstrate a resistance to the “happy affects” (Ahmed 2011) prescribed by the promise of transnormativity. This article posits that Fu’s novel represents a potential transgender subjectivity that derives its resilience from its vulnerability as an unrecognizable social other.
"Subverting Transnormativity: Rage and Resilience in Kim Fu’s For Today I Am a Boy."
CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture
This text has been double-blind peer reviewed by 2+1 experts in the field.
The above text, published by Purdue University Press ©Purdue University, has been downloaded 510 times as of 10/27/23.