(Ab)used, mad, and discarded : successful and failed healing rehearsals in Afro-Caribbean women’s fiction
Díaz Rodríguez, Yaniré S
AdvisorCollins Klobah, Loretta.
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(Ab)Used, Mad, and Discarded: Successful and Failed Healing Rehearsals in Afro-Caribbean Women’s Fiction examines how female characters deal with fracturing oppression and trauma to achieve healing. This dissertation argues that the more recent Afro-Caribbean women’s fiction challenges the typecasting of women as post-colonial ‘victims,’ by exploring instead multiple ‘rehearsals’ that move them away from the trauma in their lives and more toward their subsequent healing process, as experienced from their varied perspectives and stances. The dissertation includes a detailed study of experience of healing ‘rehearsals by female characters,’ both successfully and unsuccessfully, in Dionne Brand’s At The Full and Change of The Moon, Jacqueline Bishop’s The Gymnast and Other Positions, Nalo Hopkinson’s The Salt Roads, Edwidge Danticat’s Claire of the Sea Light, and Marie-Elena John’s Unburnable. I explore a variety of healing options such as negotiating with traumatic memories, reappreciating and embodying Caribbean natural environment/landscape, and embracing sexual liberation, often intertwined with ultimate resistance to forms of violence, rage, as well as breaking away from sexual heteronormativity. This study makes significant use of Benítez-Rojo’s conception of the Caribbean as consisting of random, repetitive performances of resistance, Wilson Harris’ “infinite rehearsal,” and Tanya Shields’ concept of feminist rehearsal.