"Reassembling components: Ivan Coyote writes down difficult things”

  1. Isabel González Díaz 1
  1. 1 Universidad de La Laguna
    info

    Universidad de La Laguna

    San Cristobal de La Laguna, España

    GRID grid.10041.34

Journal:
The Journal of Commonwealth Literature

ISSN: 0021-9894

Year of publication: 2021

Volume: 56

Pages: 416-430

Type: Article

Export: RIS

Abstract

The aim of this article is to analyze a selection of texts from Ivan Coyote’s One in Every Crowd (2012) and Tomboy Survival Guide (2016) and to discuss the author’s ability to transform vulnerability into strength and resistance through their self-referential storytelling. The reading of Coyote’s stories is guided by Judith Butler’s conception of the relational character of vulnerability, Leticia Sabsay’s understanding of permeability, and Sara Ahmed’s discussions on queer (un)happiness and imposition. Coyote’s ability to confront the gender binary through narrative is also highlighted, together with their determination to create an archive for transgender children and youth, to let them know that theirs is not a unique experience, and that one of the ways to transform vulnerability is to break the silence and make use of creativity. My reading of Coyote’s stories confirms that narratives can be used by subjects to act politically, to resist regulation and control and to counteract the way in which concepts such as vulnerability and resilience, which are “politically produced,” are finally understood (Butler et al., 2016: 5). By breaking the silence that they associate with vulnerability and creatively “writing down difficult things” (Coyote, 2016: 221) the author metaphorically reassembles components for themselves and, especially, for their young audience.

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