Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
English; College of Arts & Sciences
Young Adult Literature has been consistently growing in popularity within recent years for its exploration of various topics such as LGBTQ Identity. Specifically, this canon of literature has begun the inclusive process of portraying minority voices and their navigation of queer identity. In this essay I explore Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s young adult novel Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. Specifically, I explore the novel's main character and narrator Aristotle Mendoza. I move to examine the characteristics of machismo, heteronormativity, and internalized homophobia to analyze how Aristotle’s identity is at first made up by these characteristics and how he works to move past them in order to create his own queer masculine identity. To show Aristotle’s growth I go through the different facets of his identity including his environment, family, emotions, as well as his complex relationship with Dante, the secondary gay male protagonist. By examining Aristotle through queer and cultural lenses I argue that we can see him representing the possibility of being queer, masculine, and a dual minority by pushing past old ways of thinking.
Ur, Frank, "Queer Identity Construction in Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe" (2018). Senior Capstone Theses. 42.