The Performance of Gender and Race in James McBride’s The Good Lord Bird

Gender transitioning and Onion’s performance are shown as fluid and open in The Good Lord Bird. Throughout the narrative, there are themes of performance, mobility, and perpetual change. The dramatic storey is fueled by racial and gender tensions, as well as the ways in which associated identities are experienced and performed. The current study looks at race-related issues such as performativity and identification; in Onion’s storey, these components of identity influence a certain kind of perception of a social and geographical condition that necessitates subversion. McBride produces a compelling piece with modern resonances through humour and sarcasm. The novel’s drama is built on principles of performativity and identity, as well as the understanding symbolised by the “Good Lord” bird in the storey. McBride developed the book for a modern audience, anticipating that they would be aware of topics such as racial performance and identity. In some ways, McBride’s uncommon literary representation of a self-identified guy who inhabits a female performed identity throughout the work might be read as a satire on the absurdity of a binary racial categorization system that has been in use since the slave trade. The current work investigates the diversity and hybridity of enacted identities in The Good Lord Bird as they relate to understanding, drawing on ideas from Lacan, Butler, and Bhabha.

Author (s) Details

Yuan-Chin Chang
Department of Applied English Studies, China University of Technology, No. 56, Sec. 3, Xinglong Rd., Wunshan District, Taipei City 116, Taiwan.

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