Natalie Harman


Dustflakes is narrated by an unnamed woman who is also the protagonist of the short story. She has obsessive-compulsive tendencies because of a repressed traumatic event that occurred in her childhood. One day out of boredom she becomes overly self-conscious of her facial hair, and soon becomes fixated on it, convincing herself that she is growing a beard that is made out of dust, lint, and hair. This hallucination leads her to become alienated from her husband, and in turn, the rest of the world. Yearning to belong, she tries to find solace in religion, then an obsession with her doctor, and finally by questioning her gender identity. Metafictional devices have been used throughout the short story to structurally complement the protagonist’s confusion and fragmented mental state. Furthermore, they enhance verisimilitude by provide the protagonist with a believable means of telling the reader about the trauma she has, and continues to experience.


Gender; Identity; Trauma; Lesbianism; Female masculinity

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