Becoming Nicole

by

Amy Ellis Nutt

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Becoming Nicole: Chapter 40 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The Maineses are an “average, middle-class family,” but at the same time they are not. They simply act as they believe families should—with love and support. In 2013, Wayne sends out the family Christmas card detailing the family’s accomplishments at school, at work, and in social justice. He notes that he himself is continuing to teach others about transgender youth, “breaking down barriers that have existed for generations.”
Nutt makes it explicit that the Maineses are not an average family. However, families are not defined by social expectations of what “average” means. Instead, they are defined by exactly the love and support they have shown each other throughout this book—particularly Wayne, in overcoming his own biases to accept his daughter and educate others about her.
Themes
Knowledge vs. Ignorance Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
On January 30, 2014, Wayne receives a call from the lawyers at GLAD. The Maineses have won their case in the state Supreme Court. Activists in various fields acknowledge that the decision is a “momentous” one for transgender rights. The opposing counsel says that the Orono school district would “take every step to comply with the law.” Nicole is so thrilled that when Kelly texts her, she immediately stops the school assembly that she is attending and announces the news to the school. The students applaud wildly.
The Maineses’ victory shows how important Nicole’s courage and advocacy have been, as this case enables other students to receive rights that Nicole did not have. In addition, Nicole demonstrates pride in her identity once more by sharing this victory with her peers—something that she could never have done in elementary or middle school.
Themes
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon
Others are less happy, including Michael Heath (who had resigned from the Christian Civic League) and Paul Melanson. They are determined to keep speaking against gay and transgender rights. As for Jacob, who has moved to live with his mother, he doesn’t have much of an opinion. He only believes it was wrong for someone born a boy to “pretend” he was a girl. But Jonas knows, however, that Nicole had never been a boy. He once told her, “You were always a sister to me.”
Although Heath and Melanson’s discrimination clearly comes from bigotry, in some ways Jacob’s harassment seems to come only from ignorance and being coached by his grandfather, demonstrating just how detrimental it is for a lack of knowledge to be reinforced rather than remedied. Nicole isn’t “pretending” to be a girl—she firmly identifies as one. It is simply Nicole’s body that doesn’t match her identity, and by this point Nutt has shown that to her readers.
Themes
Knowledge vs. Ignorance Theme Icon
Discrimination, Advocacy, and Pride Theme Icon