Student Question

How does "Golden Boy" by Abigail Tarttelin represent power linked to the ideal of normality?

Expert Answers

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The title of the novel Golden Boy itself is referencing the stereotypical ideal of an American male teenager. In the story, Max comes from a wealthy, loving family, in a close-knit community that supports each of its members. However, the "golden boy" is on the verge of losing his status if the community finds out his secret—that he is intersex. His family wants to continue the idea that he and they are normal, and so want to hide his diversion from "normalcy." Losing their normalcy would be equivalent to ruining their reputation and thus their power within the community. Max himself is struggling to come to terms with who he is as a person, knowing that his identity has more power and influence on his family than he ever intended or wanted it to. His choices may disrupt the community in a major way, despite their very personal nature. His power, his family's power, and the power of the community lie in sticking to the status quo and remaining "normal."

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