"Such a thing to waste words on" : Genus, sexualitet och Beloved i Robin Hobbs The Realm of the Elderlings
Sammanfattning: In fantasy literature, representations of gender and sexuality outside of the heteronormative binary have historically been limited. Although queer fantasy is on the rise, depictions of non-conformational identities are still rare and far in-between. This thesis seeks to examine one of the earlier fantasy representations of a queer character, the non-binary Beloved in Robin Hobbs fantasy series The Realm of the Elderlings in terms of gender and sexuality. Throughout the series, Beloved assumes different identities of various genders and sexual orientations, and continuously claims that these are all equally true and valid representations of themselves, although these are distinctly separated by ways of, often gendered, physical attributes. Therefore, a central part of this thesis will be to examine how these shifts between genders and sexual identities are established performatively, something I will do with the support of Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity as it is presented in Gender Trouble. While the text ultimately lends itself to a reading in Beloved’s favour, they are often othered and met with scorn from other characters of the series, something that is quite central to their characterization. Consequently, this thesis will also investigate these reactions and the often heteronormative and conservative stances they demonstrate, and, most notably, how these reactions mirror exterior societal attitudes and change in accordance with these.
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