Brains versus Bron
Delany loves to incorporate symbolism and metaphors in his works; Trouble on Triton is not excluded from this and the main character is a prime example. “Bron” sounds very close to the word “brawn”, which is often referred to when using the phrase “brains versus brawn”. Bron is a lot of things: self-absorbed, arrogant, ignorant. He’s handsome, but too critical and demanding to find the “perfect” partner. He is intelligent (he is educated in metalogics), but he is definitely not wise. Bron refuses to see his own faults and even if he did, he lacks the emotional understanding to change these faults. He is constantly showing his obliviousness of himself and how others see him. Many of his friends are accepting at first, thinking he is just a little negative and cynical. However, the novel progresses further and further and Bron only seems to be more of an ass than ever.
After Bron and Spike go to dinner in Mongolia, Bron returns to Triton and gets a message from Spike. She basically exposes Bron’s true self, which he doesn’t even knew his true self because he can’t even acknowledge even a little bit of what Spike said was true. He thought to himself after reading the letter, “Obviously she couldn’t believe the things she’d said. Why say them, then? Why even suggest them? She was crazy and vicious!… How could [I] possibly have gone all gooey for someone so obviously deranged and sick… (194)” Bron is so unaware of his asshole-ishness that he can’t even take one word to heart. Not one about forcing himself on Spike, not one about firing Miriamne, and certainly not one about forgetting Spike. He’s still thinking about her and impressing her after his transition at the end of the book. The only thing he does realize by the end is that he needs to change, which he accomplishes through a sex change operation. Bron being Bron, he’s so dense that he can’t realize that people don’t not want to be with him because of his looks (brawn), it’s because of his brains. He’s a jerk inside and out; there is no gender, skin color, height, weight, eye color, hair color that could ever change or hide this.
Delany, Samuel R. Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1996. Print.