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Plot Summary

What happened in the story (or stories if your book is a short story collection)?  Summarize the main events in no more than one paragraph.   The plot summary must be written in your own words.

If you’ve chosen a collection of short stories, discuss the plot of at least 4 of the stories and explain what the stories in the collection generally had in common.  Summarize the stories that you will focus on in your analysis, but feel free to refer to other stories in the book in your report as well.

What is the setting of the book or stories? Where does the action take place (be sure to discuss all the locations in the story)? When is the story happening (i.e. in what time period(s))?

Why do you think the author has set the story in this place and time (or in these places and times)? What particular issues or ideas does this place and time (do these places and times) allow the story to explore?

How is heterosexual culture portrayed in the book? Describe how heterosexual characters’ attitudes about gender norms, sex and sexuality are shown in the book. Give at least two examples of heterosexism and/or homophobia or transphobia in the story/stories.

Do any of the heterosexual characters act as an ally to an LGBTQ2S character? If so, describe one specific example of ally behaviour.

The book you’ve chosen may feature characters who are not identified in the story as LGBTQ2S (i.e who are young and/or questioning, etc.). Name and describe the not-so-heterosexual and/or not-so gender normative character(s) in the book. How is each of these character’s sexuality and or gender expression portrayed in the story (describe specific behaviours, language, dialogue, etc.)?  What precisely are the qualities or behaviours that make these characters different from the heterosexual and/or gender normative characters? What struggles or challenges do they face? What helps them to face these? What makes it harder for them to face these struggles or challenges?

What elements of queer (including, but not limited to gay, lesbian, bisexual), trans and/or Two-Spirit identity are portrayed in the book? How is the experience of being a gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, trans and/or Two-Spirit person portrayed in the book? How is it depicted similarly or differently from the experience of being heterosexual/gender normative? What did you learn about what it is like to be a queer, trans or Two-Spirit person  from reading this book? 

Are aspects of queer, trans or Two-Spirit community and/or culture depicted in the book? If so, describe them in detail. What is the importance of this community and/or culture to the queer, trans or Two-Spirit character(s)?

If no aspects of queer, trans, or Two-Spirit community or culture are depicted in your book, why do you think that is? What effect does the absence of community or queer culture have on the not-so-heterosexual or not-so-gender-normative character(s)? (Give specific evidence from the text.)

Describe a section of the book (or a character) that you particularly relate to or that you found particularly challenging or unpleasant. What, exactly, do you relate to (have you had similar experiences, does the character remind you of someone, etc.)? Or, if you found a section challenging, what exactly is it that you found disturbing and why do you think you found that disturbing?

What is the main message of the book? How do you know? (Give concrete evidence from the book).

Plot Summary

A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett comprise of eleven enthralling and exceptional fiction short stories revolving around trans women. The stories include Other Women, Twenty Hot Tips To Shopping Success, How To Stay Friends, A carried Ocean Breeze Youth, Winning and Many more. The stories range from a rural Mennonite town in Canada to a Brooklyn hipster gay bar. The stories generally portray the experience of growing as a trans woman involving the charm, frustration, fun, sadness and generally the unpredictability associated with sexual diversity. "Not Bleak" one of the short stories is about a Zeke, an urbanized character, returned to the rural hometown and has to deal with the tension between alienation and belonging. Zeke has to abandon her female identity and re-inhabit her role as a good Christian boy according to her grandfather's expectations. In "Winning" the protagonist trans woman her trans mother who is combating fantasies of fleeing back to Brooklyn. "Lizzy & Annie" is another long story that begins with a morning-after jiffy and the glow of its attendant. Lizzy and Anne are have gone out for breakfast and they meet Weetzie who comments on a hip queer party place and their conversation sums up the complexities and hypocrisy of the allyship and queer politics. "Real Equality (A Manifesto) is a captivating story about a speech given by a cis woman. The speech talks about trans misogyny and ‘true' equality could only be achieved if the queer spaces were very few. I wish to concentrate mainly on the four stories I have described above but I also touch on the other stories in my analysis. Most of the stories have female protagonists some transitioned years ago while others are just coming to terms with their gender reality.

 A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett is a collection of interesting and conspicuous shot stories that portray the life experiences of transgender women in contemporary Canada and the United States. "Other Women" and "Not Bleak" which are my favourites in this collection explicitly portray Mennonite characters. In "Other Women" the protagonist character Sophie transitioned recently and moves to from Oregon to Manitoba for a family reunion and she has to visit a church in the process. Zeke in "Not Bleak" who has transitioned to a woman visits her grandfather and chooses to go as a man so as not to upset her grandfather who expects her to be a "good Christian boy". The author has used this setting since she has a background of the Mennonite community and also the setting helps in the author to explain the queer experience of transgender women and expectations of the contemporary society. The author also chose this setting because issues of transgender women and the LGBT, in general, have been a topic of concern in Canada and the United States and there are several views and policies affecting the LGBT. The author used this setting to portray the challenges and life of transgender women in a context that people can relate with easily.

Story Setting

The stories in A Safe Girl to Love have used several characters to portray heteronormativity and gender normativity in society. Heteronormativity is the belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (male and female) with natural roles in life. Most people in the society believe that sexual orientation should be conventional and be aligned towards a standard direction. In "Not Bleak", Zeke's grandfather expects his grandson to be a good Christian boy and act like a boy even though Zeke had transitioned to a trans woman. The society is having a certain expectation and this made Zeke choose acting like a boy so as to please his grandfather. In "Other Women" Sophie who had transitioned faces prosecution from the family member when she had returned for a family reunion in Manitoba. Sophie is involved in an awkward church visit and his choice of declaring her sexual orientation is not welcomed well by the family.

There are some heterosexual characters that act as an ally to an LGBT character in the stories. For example in "Not Bleak", Carla is a friend to Zeke and even accepts to accompany him to his and act as his girlfriend during his visit to his grandfather.

So I'm going to be asking you a favour, said Zeke …and I just want to make clear. It's totally okay if you don't want to do it … I'll be asking a lot here …You remember my grandpa … I'm going to see him in a few weeks. And I won't be going as a girl, unfortunately, but. … I would really rather not travel alone… I was wondering if perhaps you would come along with me, and, well, pretend to be my girlfriend… Honey, I said—and I enunciated clear hear—you don't want me … the blind could read me (as trans).Well, Carla, she said. You have to understand. They don't even know what [transitioning] is." (Casey Plett, 2014).

This shows that despite the fact that the LGBT are facing a lot of rejection and challenges in their life there is still some heterosexual individuals who don't judge them harshly. They understand their unique sexual orientation and support them through the decisions they make.

In A Safe Girl to Love, Casey Plett has included queer characters to portray the change in the dynamics of our day to day society. One of these characters is a hilarious trans woman who hates "dyke everything". She always outbursts about her cis ex yet her girlfriend is a bad-ass who yells to a transphobe on the street; "Oh my Gooooooood … transmisogyny! How can I be a chaser if I can't read my fucking Post-it marked copy of Whipping Girl at the dance nights where all the trannies go?" Also deluded cis dyke is another queer character with his speech on trans misogyny and that ‘true' equality could only be achieved if the queer spaces were very few. Another queer character is the 7o-year-old cis white Mennonite guy. The characters are different from the heterosexual and gender normative characters as they don't incline towards a specific line of thought. They face many challenges since society does not really understand them and expect them to either be heterosexual or gender normative. They are able to face these challenges by accepting the reality of facts and some such as cis dyke consider herself to be a "gigantically huge trans ally".

I definitely learnt that being a queer in the society comes with a lot of challenges and rejection from the people we are really close too. One has to find their true identity and stick to it courageously despite the challenges that may come through their way.

A Safe Girl to Love is a tries to portray not only the Mennonite tradition but also the North American queer literary tradition is portrayed. A lot of the stories in the collection are taking place in an urban environment and this has not been represented in most of the Mennonite literature. The story represents both Canadian and the United States trans communities. One target of queer theories anti-hegemonic worldwide is national boundaries and the author has clearly embodied this value in the collection of stories. In "How Old Are You Anyway?" Sex work and BDSM (bondage, discipline, Domination/submission, sadism, and masochism) is depiction in the book is rare in most of the fiction books. The scenes have been portrayed such that they appear to be very realistic. The queer community has been portrayed to be very important in recognizing people on the sexual margins such as Lisa to be Very normally and not be seen as sinners or freaks.

In the A Safe Girl to Love like any other collection of short stories have some stories that are stronger than others. I personally think it is an arduous book to read since the stories are intense and involve most of the characters such as Zeke is unhappy. The book reminds me of the transphobia that most of the trans women experience and this may manifest in physical violence as well as emotional violence. The book also portrays how trans women have to explain themselves and seek acceptance from other people in society including close family members.

A Safe Girl to Love by Casey Plett comprise of eleven enthralling and exceptional fiction short stories revolving around trans women. The stories generally portray the experience of growing as a trans woman involving the charm, frustration, fun, sadness and generally the unpredictability associated with sexual diversity. The stories represent both the contemporary Canadian and United States trans communities.

Arjona, J., Malouchos, E. W., & Buchanan, M. Dismantling Archaeology: Challenging Ourselves, Our Ethics, and Our Priorities.

Casey Plett (2014). A Safe Girl to Love. Top Side Press. New York

Penne, B., and  Renehan, P. (2017). Your Rights as an LGBTQ+ Teen. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc.

Woods, S. (2016). Identifying as Transgender. The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc

Young, A. J. (2018). From" Telling Transgender Stories" to" Transgender People Telling Stories": Transgender Literature and the Lambda Literary Awards, 1997-2017 (Doctoral dissertation, Temple University).

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"A Safe Girl To Love By Casey Plett Review." My Assignment Help, 2021, https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/psy1723-human-sexuality/safe-girl-to-love-by-casey-plett-review.html.

My Assignment Help (2021) A Safe Girl To Love By Casey Plett Review [Online]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/psy1723-human-sexuality/safe-girl-to-love-by-casey-plett-review.html
[Accessed 05 March 2024].

My Assignment Help. 'A Safe Girl To Love By Casey Plett Review' (My Assignment Help, 2021) <https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/psy1723-human-sexuality/safe-girl-to-love-by-casey-plett-review.html> accessed 05 March 2024.

My Assignment Help. A Safe Girl To Love By Casey Plett Review [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 05 March 2024]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/psy1723-human-sexuality/safe-girl-to-love-by-casey-plett-review.html.

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