Maria as a Trans Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

In James’ life, Maria drops in as a strange brightly colored punk creature in the Walmart where James works. Maria seems set to completely change James’ life. Almost immediately upon meeting each other, they both consciously and unconsciously recognize each other as trans. If Maria acts as a Manic Pixie Dream Girl set to upend James’ life for the better, she seems to be a clever subversion of it.

We spend the first half of the novel learning about Maria’s entire life and her relationships only to be quickly introduced to an entirely new important character in James. To James then, Maria is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl set to change his life for the better. To the reader however, Maria is a well established character that is well fleshed out, not just a shallow method to change the protagonist’s life. This poses the question about the description of Manic Pixie Dream Girls: are they described as to how the reader sees them or how a character sees them? This also raises for me questions about James as a character. What is his relation to Maria and the novel as a whole?

Questions:

  1. How would you describe James’s character role in the book so far? Would you consider him a supporting character or possibly a deuteragonist with Maria?
  2. Is Maria poised to be a Manic Pixie Dream Girl for James? Why or why not?
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2 thoughts on “Maria as a Trans Manic Pixie Dream Girl?

  1. Obviously this post caught my eye. You’re definitely right that Maria has a MPDG sort of dynamic with James, although the archetype here is inverted since, as you point out, the first half of the book focuses mainly on Maria. Maria is the main character and James comes in later, while most MPDG stories work the other way around. It seems like in actuality it may be James who changes Maria’s course.

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  2. So I think in a way that Maria was poised to be this character for James, but I don’t think that this position, or her well established character was an accident on Binnie’s part. I feel that she intended for this to partially have a commentary on the whole trope, simply by having a well rounded character to play this role.

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