Becoming Nicole

by

Amy Ellis Nutt

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Becoming Nicole: Chapter 5 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Orono is located in central Maine, and despite a few urban highlights surrounding the University of Maine, the town has a rural character. The Maineses’ new house is a four-bedroom with a barn and six acres of woodland. Wayne cuts down trees to build a log cabin for Jonas and Wyatt. The kids seem to adjust well to the move, and though Kelly feels a little isolated, she is happy that they are close to school and Wayne’s work.
The town of Orono helps Wayne to maintain this idealistic sense of what a traditional rural family looks like. Kelly cares less about the town’s character—even finding it a little limiting—but is glad that her kids seem happy and that their family can be close. To her, the supportive bonds of family are the most important aspects of building a meaningful life.
Themes
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
With Wyatt and Jonas about to begin first grade, the Maineses throw a party to get to know their neighbors. But when Wyatt appears at the top of the stairs in a pink princess dress during the party, Wayne yells at him that he can’t wear that. Kelly hears this and immediately comforts her crying son, pulling him away from the party. She gently tells him that it isn’t the right time to wear a dress. Wyatt cries, saying it isn’t fair that he doesn’t get to wear what he wants when Jonas does.
Wayne’s anger toward his son is again due to the fact that he feels Wyatt is threatening Wayne’s ability to have a “normal” family. Kelly also shares these concerns in a gentler way, but it is clear that she recognizes Wyatt has a clear sense of who he is, and of the inequality between himself and Jonas.
Themes
Gender Identity, Expression, and Transformation Theme Icon
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
Related Quotes
Wayne, meanwhile, remains downstairs. He feels that his world has “just blown up,” worried that everyone at the party would judge him for his outburst as well as Wyatt’s dress. He is embarrassed by his son but also feels terrible knowing “he’d just broken that little boy’s heart.” He doesn’t understand how Wyatt and Jonas could be identical twins and yet so different.
Wayne’s question, of how Wyatt and Jonas can be twins and yet be so different, is one that the reader might have as well. Nutt answers this question in a later chapter, when she reveals scientific findings on the causes of being transgender. This scientific explanation is important in understanding how Wyatt’s transgender identity is an innate part of his biology, not merely a whim or a psychiatric illness.
Themes
Knowledge vs. Ignorance Theme Icon
Gender, Sex, and the Scientific Community Theme Icon
Kelly is frustrated by Wayne’s behavior and the fact that he refuses to talk about his feelings about their child. Wayne simply hopes that Wyatt will outgrow this phase. He worries that his son is gay, not because he has a problem with gay people, but because he “[doesn’t] want that for his son.” It would be too hard for him, Wayne thinks. Wayne is also “afraid he wouldn’t know how to be the kind of father Wyatt would want—or need.”
Wayne is motivated by the desire to simply have a normal family, to be a normal father with a normal son. But Nutt reveals the deeper insecurity below this desire: that Wayne worries he would not be the kind of father that could help Wyatt if he were transgender.
Themes
Family, Love, and Social Expectations Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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