Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis will discuss three semi-autobiographical novels: Ruth Ozeki's My Year of Meats (1998), Tsitsi Dangarembga's Nervous Conditons (1987), and Sara Suleri's Meatless Days (1991). Drawing upon feminist and postcolonial theories (Bhabha 1988; Friedman 1998; Irigaray 1985; 1993), I will examine the ways these female novelists, both American and postcolonial, represent food and the female body as sites of cultural, racial, and gender inscription and contestation. While each text invokes food as metonym for the patriarchal and colonial violence against women (the body), at the same time, each text supplements these violent discourses with a subversive and empowering matriarchal symbolism which challenges these power structures. Ultimately, I will argue that, while this matriarchal symbolism challenges gender power structures, these texts also acknowledge the ways in which women's experience is inflected through other power dynamics, specifically those of race and culture. As I will demonstrate, in each text, food and the body expose the multifarious means by which power discourses are internalized, rejected, or renegotiated by the female subject. By examining the strategies these characters employ in their resistance to cultural imperialist power structures, I will show how a textual metaphorics of food and the female body are involved in a complex process of production, at once cultural, social, and political.
Nogler, Tara, "Food/Body as Text: Exploring the Cultural/Corporeal Politics ofPower" (2000). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 6406.
McMaster University Library