Women’s World Analysis Page 262-274

What prompts Roy to admit that he must ‘give up’ Norma?  Why does he find it so hard to do?

  • Roy had to give up Norma because Norma had killed someone and Roy is being responsible for that because Norma is within himself and he is Norma which makes him the killer. Since he killed Mr. Hands with his identity as Norma, it prompt him to ‘give up’ Norma so that no one knows about her existence. He found it so hard to do it because Norma’s existence has become a part of him and has been with him for so long and if he easily gives her up, he will have to face the fact that his sister is dead and that he is abandoning her; that he is guilty in her death.

Focus on the passage where Norma explains the relationship between her and Roy.  In your own words, explain how Roy’s ‘alter-ego’ came to be, and why Mary has tolerated it. Roy has dressed as Norma for many years, of his own volition.  Can you explain why this incident with the policemen is so traumatic ?

  • Roy was never able to let go of Norma’s existence for so many years. the fact that he has created the existence of Norma within himself made him feel so attached to her that he wasn’t able to abandon her. Even when Mary asked him to take away Norma’s clothes to the salvation army, he kept one box and gave the other one. page 266 “they had familiar smell, something he would never really notice before, a Little Sister smell” the clothes of Norma that he kept behind made him feel the existence of Norma and he missed her but since it was just a cloth and not the actual Norma or his little sister, he wore them to feel like she was still there with him. page 266 ” they were like those paper dress-up doll outfits that had the FOL DOVER TABS- flat and lifeless because there was no DOLL to put them on” his little sister was not there to put on the clothes that were lying on the bed so Roy tried them on and when he looked into the mirror he was somehow able to feel her existence.
  • The incident with the police man was so traumatic because the situation felt like the policeman were rapping a 8 year old child. This is because the two policemen forced Roy to put on the panties and bra, pg 271  ” let’s see them with the bra”; these show how Norma as a girl is being forced to wear under garments which shows sexual harassment.  Also in page 271, ” the SERGEANT knelt at Roy’s feet, stretching the waistband of the panties between his PROK SAUSAGE fingers ready for him to step into them” and ” i think he needs a bit of LIPSTICK” , “undid the cap and propelled the base to expose its entire pink length, rude and moist like a dog’s thing” the way the LIPSTICKS was described and the highlighted phrase about dog’s thing shows and describes the penis of the policemen and applying them on Roy’s lips in circular motion shows them rapping at the scene.  Page 272 “what do you think? too much? No SARGE, not enough. Here, let me have a go” this also indicates that the child has not just been rapped by one person but by both the policemen. Thus this incident with the policemen is so traumatic. He also relates the current situation to the accident that happened 20 years ago to page 268 “they looked like the TWO who had turned up at the house to talk about my accident…policemen” the two policemen reminded him of the police that declared the death of Norma after the accident.

Graham Rawle has been criticised for revealing the true identity of Norma so explicitly at this point in the novel.  Do you think he was right to do so?

  • From my point of view, I think it was right for him to do so because Norma has been causing a lot of problems where Roy had to clean up every time and now the situation has reached to the point where Roy is prompt to give up Norma. I think Rawle made the right decision at that time revealing the true identity of Norma since people need to know how Norma’s existence was created by Roy and why he is giving up now. Also this will allow the readers to put all the pieces of informations together and understand the text more clearly.

If the police are representative of law, order and authority, what does their behaviour suggest about society’s attitudes to gender?

  • Their behaviour suggests that in the society, the opposite gender (male)  has more power and control over the other gender. It also shows that they don’t really accept nor deny the fact about transgender in the society but they like making fun of them, like how Roy was forced to wear those under garments and put lipsticks all over his mouth and the policemen laughed at him.

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