The Well Of Loneliness By Radclyffe Hall

1383 Words Dec 14th, 2015 6 Pages
The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall is a (recently dubbed) lesbian novel that tells the story of Stephen, a sexual “invert” whose struggle with gender identity surfaces from a young age. In the novel, Stephen’s father, Sir Phillip, studies the theory of the “invert” of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs in order to understand Stephen’s internal conflict. Although the term “invert” has, since its use in the 1920’s, been extinct, an attempt to apply the term to Stephen’s issues of gender identity proves that she was not in fact an invert, but rather a woman, who loved women, and who enjoyed the attire and hobbies that are traditionally considered masculine. It seems as though Hall is not directly defining Stephen as an invert, but rather showing her readers that the lack of a more diverse and expanded discussion on gender identity has a detrimental effect on people who do not fit into the traditional sex-gender categories. In The Well of Loneliness, Stephen’s father refers to the works of Ulrichs to learn more about his daughter’s struggle as an “invert”. Ulrich’s concept of the “invert” explains that an invert is result of inverted gender identity. This occurs when a person of one sex finds himself or herself stuck in the body of the opposite gender. Stephen, however, does not seem to possess all the characteristics of an invert. Yes, she possess masculine likes and dislikes, but she does not express a desire to be fully male, only a wish to be able to freely behave and present…
Open Document