The writer of “Conundrum” Jan Morris formerly James Morris provides an autobiography of personal gender transformation from biological male to female because she felt that she belonged to the wrong body. The writing in the text is elegant to portray anachronistic perception. Although spent in the male pursuits of the traditional times, the author’s male existence presents a view of fascinating life. She indicates the times her service was a fascination but not to her satisfaction for instance, the roles of a husband, father or a member in the army. The issue of sexual characteristics denied her happiness. All that she is covers all that she does.
She ironically graces all these conundrum of gender difference with some self–condemning wit and humour. Born in 1927, the writer spent thirty-five years in personal mystery regarding gender and another ten years undergoing anticipated changes; she underwent surgery in Casablanca in 1972 to live her expected life. The writing presents the reader with conjectures over how much one has to undergo in desperation of reconciling the inner with the outer self. The option to undergo the complex surgery in a clinic also appears primitive. The presentation of events in the literature brings out some special aspects of uniquely accounted realization. It is possible for the readers to move along the transition of Jan Morris from the male to female world through the well-articulated geographical setting of events.
It is possible to connect the setting to the phases involved in the search for an identity. She began with a controllable revealing and analysis of the new self to come to the conclusive satisfaction. This is evident in her indication that “there is nobody in the world I would rather be than me” (174). Her writing helps many people to conclude that self-acceptance shapes the various feelings and ideas perceived in the world.
The uncertainties that Jan Morris faces during this uncommon procedure, especially the unfavourable conditions at the clinic for this complicated surgery show her value for the prior lifestyle. According to her, “It was dark by now, and the room was uninviting… Inside, the clinic seemed to be plunged into a permanent silence” (Morris, 138-9). She succumbs to the anaesthesia to undergo the gender transformation through surgery (142), and her satisfaction of the physical outcome is evident of her use of simile regarding the experience of the surgery. , “We were like prisoners,” (142) Her writing also illustrates the positive and encouraging aspect of the recovery process.
She indicates the perception of the feminine world where she meets great kindness, for instance her welcoming back to Europe encouraging. At the airport, an executive on the plane met Morris with “great kindness”, and she felt “like a princess emancipated from her degrading disguise” (146). The relationship with the outside world appeared stronger and better. “I felt more strongly than even all their kinships with me,” (148) The conversion was equally dependable on the acceptance nature of others especially the family members and close friends. This was the basis for her perception regarding the differences in the treatment women get in comparison to the male counterparts. The treatment varies from one location to another in the world (148), but according to her, women receive kinder treatment. (150) The nasty experience of surgery at Casablanca clinic fades just as the male lifestyle. In line to her writing, she stated that, “I become more accustomed to my womanhood, and partly because I do not want to remember” (160).
The story helps the readers to understand the experiences concern with trans-sexuality and appreciate the reasons behind the decisions for the procedures.
Jan Morris. Conundrum. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.