Analysis Of Siri Hustvedt's The Blindfold

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Siri Hustvedt’s novel The Blindfold reveals a story of a twenty-two-year old student Iris Vegan, a newcomer to New York, crossing ways with men who fatally change Iris’s sense of self. In this new environment, Iris explores her identity and searches for the balance between her self and the other. Iris’s character serves as an example of how one can adopt different roles and perform an identity/ identities. She cross-dresses as a man called Klaus several times over a long period of time. First appearance of Iris as Klaus takes place when she attends a Halloween party with her friend. At the Halloween party, Iris carries out a conscious performance of her as Klaus. Second time the readers see Iris disguised as Klaus is when she uses the suit as a form of protection after she hears about some cases of rape in her neighborhood. In this case, she again consciously performs the role of Klaus. But later her performance of Klaus grows into an obsession with his identity, and Iris slowly becomes and is Klaus, turning her conscious performance of Klaus into an unconscious…show more content…
Based on personal experiences of the author, and combined with the theories of identity formation, discourse, gender roles and performativity, the novel depicts how one can consciously perform constructed roles in an everyday life, and how easy it is to switch the roles and perform someone else’s identity. The only thing you need is to change your appearance and wear a mask. Moreover, the novel warns of dangers linked to performing someone else’s identity – losing the sense of one’s own self and control over the constructed identity. Still, as Hustvedt believes, such attempt can open new doors to an unknown world: “[c]ertain novels and poems have had power to unearth raw and unknown parts of myself, have been like mirrors I never knew existed” (Plea
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