Why Did Herculine Find Their True Identity?

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When Herculine leaves D, they commence on a quest to find their true identity through the guidance of religious leaders and medical professionals. It was during that time that Herculine decided to begin identifying as male, which in turn ignited a social uproar by the people who were meant to love them most. Herculine discusses this idea within the memoirs by questioning “What remains to me then? Nothing. Cold solitude, dark isolation! Oh! To live alone, always alone, in the midst of the crowd that surrounds me, without a word of love ever coming to gladden my soul without a friendly hand reaching out to me! What a terrible, nameless punishment” (Barbin, 92). After transitioning, Herculine goes through many changes within their life. They begin using new pronouns, being referred to as “Monsieur” by their community and “son” by their mother, they also lose the tight bonds they once held with teachers and other students after being forbidden to return to their place of study and work.…show more content…
Reflecting on this new identity, Herculine writes, “Death is there, oblivion. … And there, too, shall the outlaw find a place” (Barbin, 103). This dark “oblivion” in which “outlaws” are sent to find their place in society is a horrible image, which many do not realize is Herculine’s day-to-day experience, as well as the experiences of many others. It is when Herculine attempts once again to be accepted by society and the people around them by conforming to one-half of the gender binary that they receive the most negative response. It is as if every effort they put forth in order to satisfy the people around them ends up future diminishing their

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