"Witches and such like hags": Techous Sexuality and Rural Queer Identity in Elizabeth Madox Roberts' "The Scarecrow"
- Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 77, Number 2, Summer 2021
- pp. 55-75
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This article explores Elizabeth Madox Roberts' use of the colloquial term "techous" in her short story "The Scarecrow" to portray sexual difference in the rural American South. Referring to Jack Halberstam's work on rural queer identity, I discuss how techous, which is used to describe Joan, the story's protagonist, for her aversion to human touch, can be understood to represent a unique sexual identity. I analyze one of the story's central images—Joan's creation of a doppelgänger to scare away crows, which Roberts links symbolically to men—as a proto-trans* act, the creation of a body not defined by sex.