Submission Title

Monstrous Dolls: The Abject Body in Rosario Ferré’s Work

Location

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Austin Reading Room

Subject Area

English: Literature

Description

In this Honors Thesis project, I propose to examine two literary texts, The Youngest Doll (1991) and The House on the Lagoon (1995), from Puerto Rican author Rosario Ferré (1938-2016) using postcolonial feminist theory framing the status of the subaltern and its intersections with theories of gender performativity to explain the abject body. With these critical frameworks as well as my own close textual analysis, I argue that Ferré pushes a postcolonial feminist agenda when she highlights the nuances of double oppression—patriarchal and colonial subjugation—through her undefinable, abject female characters. By depicting these women both as patriarchal and colonial victims as well as agents of transgression, Ferré forces readers to confront the multiplicity present in female identity and recognize the subversive power of the Unknown and Unknowable. Here the Unknown and the Unknowable manifest in the abject female figures, who work creatively within the confines of the patriarchal and U.S. colonial legacies of Puerto Rico to gain agency and destabilize the hegemony’s gaze through their indefinability.

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Monstrous Dolls: The Abject Body in Rosario Ferré’s Work

Jereld R. Nicholson Library: Austin Reading Room

In this Honors Thesis project, I propose to examine two literary texts, The Youngest Doll (1991) and The House on the Lagoon (1995), from Puerto Rican author Rosario Ferré (1938-2016) using postcolonial feminist theory framing the status of the subaltern and its intersections with theories of gender performativity to explain the abject body. With these critical frameworks as well as my own close textual analysis, I argue that Ferré pushes a postcolonial feminist agenda when she highlights the nuances of double oppression—patriarchal and colonial subjugation—through her undefinable, abject female characters. By depicting these women both as patriarchal and colonial victims as well as agents of transgression, Ferré forces readers to confront the multiplicity present in female identity and recognize the subversive power of the Unknown and Unknowable. Here the Unknown and the Unknowable manifest in the abject female figures, who work creatively within the confines of the patriarchal and U.S. colonial legacies of Puerto Rico to gain agency and destabilize the hegemony’s gaze through their indefinability.