Becoming Nicole


Amy Ellis Nutt

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Becoming Nicole can help.

Becoming Nicole: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Wyatt continues to assert his femininity and plays with Jonas less, worrying that his brother doesn’t accept him. Jonas, however, tells Dr. Holmes that he doesn’t mind that Wyatt dresses and acts like a girl; he’s just not interested in the same things as Wyatt.
Wyatt doesn’t care about maintaining a sense of having a “normal” family—his only wish is for his brother to love and support him.
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
Some of Wyatt’s most difficult moments involve sports, particularly because they involve changing and showering. Once, an older boy says something cruel to him in the shower. Wyatt tries to confront the boy, and Wayne has to pull the two kids away from each other. When Wyatt and Jonas join the Cub Scouts, many boys make fun of Wyatt’s feminine behavior and the parents don’t discipline their children for this.
As Wyatt grows and participates in more male-gendered activities, he is subject to more and more discrimination by other kids who view him as an outsider or as abnormal. Yet the striking thing is that this mistreatment is not disciplined, showing how parents are just as complicit in the bullying as their kids are.
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon
Wayne is disappointed because he had loved the Scouts, and this serves as “one more reminder to Wayne that his family [is] different from everyone else’s.” He responds to these developments by taking late-night swims and chopping down trees: anything to avoid dealing with his feelings about Wyatt.
While Wyatt’s challenges continue to grow, Wayne is still preoccupied with the idea of having a normal family and of giving his son the same childhood that he had.
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
Wayne takes far more pleasure in doing “boy” things with Jonas, like Little League, but the irony is that Wyatt is more innately talented at sports. Jonas does not have the natural skills for Whiffle ball, but when Wyatt tries to hit the ball in a dress and heels, he hits four solid line drives. Instead, Jonas’s passion is his imagination and acting out stories. Thus, Jonas doesn’t quite fit the mold of other boys his age either. He is unsure of his own identity, though he is very sure of Wyatt’s. One day he tells his father, “Face it, Dad, you have a son and a daughter.”
Perhaps part of the tragedy for Wayne lies in the idea that neither of his sons are traditionally “masculine” in the way that he is, and so he doesn’t feel strongly connected to either of his sons. This anecdote also helps establish that gender identity runs along a gradient, and no one (not even cisgender people) has to completely mesh with all gender stereotypes.
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
Get the entire Becoming Nicole LitChart as a printable PDF.
Becoming Nicole PDF