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Well of Loneliness

            Leslie Feinberg once said, "More exists among human beings than can be answered by the simplistic question I"m hit with everyday of my life: "are you a man or a woman?"" Our society has yet to develop a term for a gender that is neither male nor female, a person whose characteristics are neither masculine nor feminine. Often times it is the case that if a woman does not appear feminine she is perceived as masculine. In The Well of Loneliness, by Radclyffe Hall a story of character unravels in which one female sexed person lives in a society where she feels that she is not accepted for who she is. Hall develops this sensitive lesbian and as the story unravels the reader is invited to look closer into the soul of this character and what being a lesbian entails to her. .
             From the beginning of Stephen's life there was something different about her. She resembled her father Sir Phillip almost uncannily, which made her mother uneasy. She played rough with her father, riding on his back as if he were a bucking bronco. In Hall's description of Stephen's early adolescence, she is supporting a view point that a lesbian is born intrinsically gay. In the ongoing debate of nature or nurture it seems that Hall believes that it is predetermined at birth what one's sexual orientation will be. To further strengthen this belief, Stephen's first crush is on a female housekeeper. When Stephen is only five years old she develops what can only be understood as a crush on Collins and does everything in her power to be near her. At the same time that this crush is developing Stephen has taken toward dressing us as a young boy. When dressed as "Nelson" she realized how much more comfortable she was as this boy. At age seven she asked her father "Do you think that I could be a man, supposing I thought very hard-or prayed, Father?" (Well of Loneliness p. 26) This was only the start of a heartbreaking struggle for Stephen to discover herself.

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