Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms: Gender Transitivity and Queer Desire: A Review of the Southern Gothic

Prof. Tina Bertacchi-love.

Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms explores the fragmented identity and the discovery of one's sexual orientation. The author utilizes the gothic genre as a means of pushing social boundaries while examining the fear and uncertainty of otherness. In fact, what is gothic in Capote's text is homosexuality. In the gothic space of Skully's Landing several characters struggle with their sexual identity and the novel indicates that there is a strong connection between gender transitivity and homosexuality. However, from the opening pages of the text the characters are not identified as homosexual; instead, the signifier "queer" is introduced and fits in between the gap in terms of creating meaning for the characters and their surroundings. When Radcliff asks Joel if he likes Noon City, "Joel imagined a queerness in the driver's tone" (14). Moreover, gender is not static in this text and, as readers, we must decode the signifiers. Thus, "queer" allows for an ambiguous reading of the characters.
Although critics of the last twenty years have read Capote's novel through queer literary theory and have seen it as a queer study beyond the traditional gothic novel, I build upon this scholarship and include a psychoanalytical reading including Freud's identification and Lacan's split self and the mirror image in terms of Joel, Randolph and others. Additionally, I focus on Saussure's notion of binaries, the gay and straight individual, and how language produces reality.


Prof. Tina Bertacchi-love  (United States)
'Lecturer in Composition'
Department of English
California State University, Northridge

  • Truman Capote's Other Voices, Other Rooms
  • Gender Transitivity and Inherent Queer Desire
Person as Subject
  • Capote, Truman

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)