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Suzan-Lori Parks's In the Blood: Dominant discourse on the Subaltern Woman and Talking Back

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2013, 26(1), pp.29-50
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Yu,Sung-Yi 1

1부산대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article aims to analyze how the dominant discourse oppresses the subaltern, Hester La Negrita, and how she speaks out against it. The discourse upon Hester is closely related to money and her poverty is the main cause of keeping her away from the society. The Welfare Lady pretends to help Hester, but she takes advantage of her work force and just works to be paid. Amiga Gringa, the white subaltern woman, always defrauds Hester of money, even her ovary. In order to prevent Hester from breeding, The Doctor obeys the Higher Ups’ order and finally removes the ovary of Hester. Reverend D does “Salvation Business” to get money from his congregation, treats Hester as a sex object, and then calls her “slut.”These people symbolize the dominant discourse oppressing Hester, the black subaltern woman, and they try to keep the well-drawn boundary line between them and Hester. In this way, they put Hester to silence. Hester, however, struggles against the dominant discourse by talking back with her own ways. First, she strives to thread a needle to embroider her thinking on clothes which means the ready-made social structure. Secondly, Hester fights against temptation of money. Amiga and Welfare seduces Hester to sell her children for money, but Hester never gives up her 5 treasures. Although Hester tries to show her dignity as the subaltern woman to the dominant society, all her effort is in vain. Finally, Hester speaks her resistant words by killing the first son Jabber who calls Hester slut. When she hears the bad word, she beats him with a club which symbolizes a penis, the authority of a patriarchal system. Therefore, I argue that Hester’s killing is the last and the best choice to resist the dominant discourse. The written “A” with Jabber’s blood gives us a hint “a start” of Hester, the African-American subaltern women.

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