Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 254

Becoming Nicole explores the theme of gender identity. It is the coming-of-age story of a young girl and her struggle to be herself and the story of her family members who learn to embrace the change. Amy Ellis Nutt, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, reports the story that compels us to question our long-held views on gender and identity.

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The story explores the theme of parental love. Wayne and Kelly Maines adopt identical twin boys, but by the time they are toddlers, "Wyatt" insists that she is female. Wayne, with his conservative military background, grapples with her transgender identity, overcomes his deepest fears, and finally becomes an advocate for transgender rights. Kelly's instincts guide her to protect her daughter's freedom to be herself. In their extraordinary journey, the family learns to understand, accept, and celebrate Nicole's uniqueness.

The story reflects the lack of empathy of a social system when Nicole's elementary school prohibits her from using the girl's restroom. The school is compelled to rewrite its rules and confront its prejudices after a landmark courtroom decision that propels transgender rights into public consciousness.

Becoming Nicole explores the theme of gender variance. It highlights the fact that gender identity extends far beyond the chromosomal configuration. It includes an overview of the current scientific knowledge on sexual dimorphism and the prenatal development of twins.

The story explores the theme of bullying and harassment in schools. A person who is "different" evokes a sense of fear and discomfort. Becoming Nicole inspires young adolescents to be compassionate and inclusive.

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