Compulsory Heterosexuality and Homophobia: Reading of Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta and The World Unseen by Shamim Sarif

  • Judith Chepkoech University of Kabianga
  • Robert Wesonga, PhD University of Kabianga
  • Cellyne Anudo, PhD University of Kabianga
Keywords: Homophobia, Heterosexism, Lesbian, Homosexuality, Identities
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Traditionally, sexuality has often been determined by one’s gender and has further been complicated by heterosexism and homophobic ideas. This paper examines the topic of sexuality as portrayed in fiction from selected literary texts. It constitutes the discussion of various factors that affect people at different levels in association with same-sex relationships, as reflected in the literary texts. The main objective of the paper is to analyse how heteronormative societies respond to lesbian homosexuality. To establish this argument, this paper explores Sarif’s The World Unseen (2007) and Okparanta’s Under the Udala Trees (2015). It seeks to answer the question: what is (are) the response(s) of heteronormative society to lesbianism in the selected texts. Ultimately it hopes to contribute to the existing but limited research on understanding experiences of lesbian homosexuals by shedding light on cultural practices that are put in place in an attempt to normalise heterosexuality. The paper utilises Judith Butler’s Queer theory to achieve its objective. The significant concern in this theory is the correlation between gender and sex. The major tenets being gender performativity, the fluid nature of sexuality, and the deconstruction of characterisation structures.


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13 October, 2021
How to Cite
Chepkoech, J., Wesonga, R., & Anudo, C. (2021). Compulsory Heterosexuality and Homophobia: Reading of Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta and The World Unseen by Shamim Sarif. East African Journal of Arts and Social Sciences, 4(1), 11-21.