Is She Fact Or Is She Fiction?

1138 words - 5 pages

Summarising the argument in the journal article Is she fact or is she fiction? Angela Carter and the enigma of women, Fernihough argues that gender is a performance, our ideas of masculinities and femininities become knowable through representations of them. The article states through performance we are able to break away from our sex/ gender dual notions which have become socially recognisable.
Fevvers constitutes her identity through performance in which audiences are unable to distinguish between whether she is real or whether she is fake. This could be disputed because the audience may be aware that Fevvers stage persona is not real yet are still entertained by her performances and want ...view middle of the document...

In light of this question I surmise Fevvers is not a man and her exaggerated femininity is just part of her onstage persona.
Moreover, Fernihough presents this idea that drag both strengthens and unsettles gender assumptions in which society follows, this is because the external appearance is feminine but the internal self is masculine and vice versa. Fevvers performance as a trapeze artist is not only portrayed as the course of gendered identity but also as this problematic balancing act of womanhood, the presence of the body always brings with it a particular risk.
The article poses the question is Fevvers fact or is she fiction there is an enigma centered around her which creates a hidden truth through a hidden self considering she is deceiving the public. Fevvers wings are looked on as astonishing yet firmly real, it is highlighted that Fevvers wings are a matter of confidence. Fevvers remains neither fact nor fiction throughout the novel however, if Fevvers was revealed at some point as either fact or fiction this would be deemed distasteful, for reason that her achievements are centered around her being neither fact nor fiction. It could be thought that it is not an important factor whether or not Fevvers actually has wings because it creates ambiguity throughout the novel and keeps the reader engaged. Additionally, her wings could signifier multiple meanings based on a readers interpretation. Fernihough displays that the enigma which centers women is fore grounded and repeatedly undermined in the novel.
Fevvers subverts the typical stereotype of the trapeze artist considering their bodies are usually tall and agile. Fevvers reverses this completely. However, Fernihough argues that Fevvers conforms to her stereotype, as working class women when she is lure into the east end brothel. She conforms to the assumptions that working class women are brash and voluptuous women. The article suggests there is a danger that Fevver's body could be viewed as freakish, by the reader because she does not fit the traditional stereotype. Despite this it has been suggested that Fevvers is not looked upon as freakish, instead she is seen as a figure of beauty. For instance, "her face, thickly coated with rouge and powder so that you can see how beautiful she is from the back row of the gallery,"( Carter, 1984: p17.)This quote is ironic hence it is unusual that a...

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