So… James ditches Maria, and that’s it? THAT’S IT?
While Nevada’s open-ended ending is frustrating to readers, I think it serves to facilitate and address the novel’s larger theme of solutions giving rise to other challenges. Let’s try to remove ourselves from our frustration and try to think about why our story ended without a resolution from Maria. The narrative of our story illustrates the challenges, insecurities, and frustrations experienced by Maria post-transition. Many trans narratives take place during the character’s discovery of the desire to become another sex or another gender, and concludes on the philosophical internalizations of making this change and how it is to effect the rest of their life. With Maria, we see are invited into the post-transition life. Sure, things have resolved for Maria. Ultimately, however, as a woman, she still describes having a disconnected relationship with her body, and goes as far as to fake an orgasm with her partner. In addition, we follow her through the consequences of her self destructive decisions only to finalize: a trip to Nevada and a bunch of drugs will fix everything. We see that it doesn’t. I think this anti-climactic ending supports the over arching theme that one solution gives rise to other challenges that need a solution. Maria made the transition from man-to-woman. That didn’t solve everything for her. If it had, there wouldn’t be a book to write about in the first place. The ending poses to suggest that her journey to Nevada poses as a temporary solution to the larger issues she must address within herself. Just as her transition into a woman didn’t solve all of her problems, but granted temporary relief and self satisfaction for the time begin until those deep rooted insecurities surfaced, once again, to sabotage her relationships, her job, and her self-perceptions.
How do you think Maria’s narrative pre-tansition would compare to her post-transition narrative? Do you think she would have similar struggles, or would they be much more intense?
How does the third-person narrative dictate your assessment of Maria’s characterization. Did it change how you felt about her? Could you analyze her more closely? Or did the third-person narrative draw you further from her as a character?