“Understanding Identity” ; Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts

By Melissa Burciaga

o-MAGGIE-NELSON-900“By the end of the day, 52 percent of California voters had voted to pass Prop 8, thus halting “same-sex” marriages across the state, reversing the conditions of our felicity”

I have to admit that when I first started reading The Argonauts I was confused with everything that was going on. Harry had a child from a previous relationship and now they were sad because Prop 8 had passed. After all, Harry was a man, right? Wrong, he was born a female. This is what I disliked most about the book, the fact that I did not know initially that he was a woman. I think that if Maggie Nelson had told us this from the beginning, it would have saved some of her readers some confusion.

How many times have you read a book about someone’s life and felt that it was missing something? I know I have, and to me that something was realness. The Argonauts tells life exactly how it is, even though it may be uncomfortable for some. In my opinion, this memoir has to be read with an open mind because if you close your mind to some of the topics in it, you’re going to miss out on a lot of knowledge.

The Argonauts touches on subjects such as; transgender individuals, sexuality, pregnancy, and motherhood. One might never think that these subjects could be combined successfully, but Nelson has been able to do exactly that. She has made me look at life in a completely different way. She taught me that we should appreciate life and what we have because our life could have been different if we had it our way.

I will leave you with a piece of Nelson’s writing that stood out to me the most.

        “But really there is no such thing as reproduction, only acts of production”

If you really sit down and think about this, our children are not reproductions, they are productions. You raise children with morals and beliefs, so when they become adults they are able to produce good human beings.

You can purchase The Argonauts Here

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