Luna and Boy Meets Boy, in my opinion are more obviously different. I think that the main difference is the very different environments that the characters of each novel reside in. Boy Meets Boy describes a utopia. Paul lives in a very accepting environment. His family knew when he was a young age that he was gay and they never challenged that or forced different ideals upon him. Where as for Luna, she grew up with a father that wanted her to be someone that she is not. He pushed Luna into playing baseball and other sports in order to morph her into a “masculine male.” The role of stereotypes and gender norms is very different between the two novels. In Boy Meets Boy, we see cheerleaders on motorcycles and a drag queen as the star quarterback. The “normal” of Boy Meets Boy would horrify the characters in Luna, an environment so set to sticking to the strict stereotypical gender norms. For Luna’s birthday as a child she wanted dolls and a bra, and instead her family got her “gender appropriate” toys deemed for boys. Luna’s parents don’t even allow her to do any housework such as cooking or cleaning because of the feminine stereotype. They always have Reagan do it. This mindset is spread throughout all characters of the novel, outside of Luna’s family. Luna was mocked and ridiculed at Reagan’s slumber party by the girls because he liked having his nails painted. Also when Luna wants to try on women’s clothes at the mall, she is given a look of disgust and is escorted out by security guards. An unexpected similarity that I saw between the two novels was the discussion of childhood. Each novel mentions childhood and child development. In Paul’s case he always knew that he was different from other boys. He discovered that he was gay in kindergarten by reading a note written by his teacher. In Luna’s case, she also knew she was always different from other boys. She had lots of friends who were girls, preferred pink, and other stereotypical “feminine” things. I thought that it was interesting that both of these characters knew their true identity from a young age. This clearly is not the case for all members of the LGBTQ community. It makes me wonder if this is a common trend among young adult novels involving characters of the LGBTQ community. From these two novels, I am drawing the conclusion that young adult narratives focus on the struggle of expressing one’s known identity as opposed to the struggle of discovering one’s true identity. I would like to compare this to a novel where this is not the case.
2 thoughts on “Development and Environment”
I think the point about the struggle of expression one’s true identity vs discovering one’s true identity is interesting. I think that there is a belief that people “discover” their identity, but in reality, people struggle to express and uncover their true identity. Because we grow up in a white, patriarchal, heteronormative society, I think that it a lot of LGBT individual’s identities are suppressed in their childhood. So it becomes a matter of expressing and uncovering their true identities in their teenage years. I think we see that in Luna the struggle to express one’s identity. With Boy Meets Boy, we are shown what happens to an individual when you support and accept their identity at a young age.
I agree that it is interesting how both characters became aware of their queer identities at such a young age. And even though both of them knew about their identity for a long time, the differing environments between the two books ensure that the two characters have entirely different experiences with coming to terms with their identity. It’s interesting to consider how either of the characters would have fared in the environment of the opposite book. Would Luna be a fabulous and confident trans woman? Would Paul have been ashamed and closeted for a good deal of his life?
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