A Cut That Scars: Alice Walker's Novel Possessing the Secret of Joy and Female Genital Cutting 公开

Levy, Katie Rose (2012)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/qf85nb58w?locale=zh


A Cut That Scars: Alice Walker's Novel Possessing the Secret of Joy and Female Genital Cutting

Walker presents many of the complex issues regarding female genital cutting in her novel Possessing the Secret of Joy. Of utmost importance, however, is the emphasis not just on the physical deterioration but also on the psychological destruction of mutilated women. My honors project encompasses an in depth analysis of these themes as Walker portrays them. Walker indicts patriarchal society as necessitating the cutting of women. My first chapter, therefore, analyzes both Tashi's struggle to appease the Olinka men and her desire to maintain her unique cultural identity. Because Tashi views her circumcision as upholding Olinka tradition, her decision to be circumcised is one of the ways she strives to fight impending threats to the survival of her tribe. Walker criticizes the notion that FGC upholds tradition and cultural uniqueness. This chapter, therefore, analyzes cultural tradition and introduces many of Walker's scholarly inspirations on FGC and much of the corresponding thought regarding the perceived traditional nature of the practice. The second chapter analyzes Walker's radical indictment of women, particularly mothers, who force their own daughters to undergo the painful procedure. This chapter is substantiated with complimentary readings that analyze the disillusionment of the mother figure. Lastly, the final chapter examines Tashi's psychological journey, which Walker introduces through a Jungian lens. Each chapter seeks to address unique motifs that are inherent to the complex nature of FGC. The common theme, however, both in Walker's novel and in other scholarly publications on FGC is resistance. My honors thesis, therefore, brings to light the meditation on choice and the statement to resist that is intrinsic to Possessing the Secret of Joy. In so doing, it is my hope to highlight that Possessing the Secret of Joy is itself a manifesto calling for resistance and change.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Chapter One: Review of the Literature...3
Chapter Two: Patriarchal Society and the Perpetuation of Female Genital Cutting...27
Chapter Three: Debunking the Myth: the Imperfect Mother...51
Chapter Four: A Jungian Lens: The Psychology of Female Genital Cutting...74
Works Cited...97

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