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“THE EROTIC AS POWER”: LESBIAN EROTICISM, RESISTANCE, AND DIFFERENCE IN AUDRE LORDE’S ZAMI AND ALISON BECHDEL’S FUN HOME

Parker, Caitlyn Nicole (2017) “THE EROTIC AS POWER”: LESBIAN EROTICISM, RESISTANCE, AND DIFFERENCE IN AUDRE LORDE’S ZAMI AND ALISON BECHDEL’S FUN HOME. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

Audre Lorde’s Zami: A New Spelling of My Name and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic are both coming-out memoirs by lesbian identified authors. Lorde’s biomythography was published in 1982, and retrospectively describes her experiences as a black, African-Caribbean lesbian navigating lesbian communities in the 1950s-60s. As the protagonist, Audre embraces Lorde’s theory of the erotic through her intimate relationships with various women. These erotic relationships contribute to the development of Audre’s critical, political consciousness. Audre confronts oppressive discourses concerning the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and nationality. Bechdel’s graphic novel memoir, published in 2006, illustrates her life with her father Bruce, a closeted gay man, and how she comes to identify as a butch-lesbian. Bechdel’s protagonist, Alison, considers her father’s history pre-Stonewall, in seeking to understand her own experiences of coming-out post-Stonewall. Alison rejects the oppressive heterosexist discourses that lead to her father’s probable suicide, and embraces counterhegemonic lesbian-feminist discourses of resistance. Both Lorde and Bechdel note how relationships between women and communal support among lesbians can be a source of erotic power. Specifically, the characters, Audre and Alison, demonstrate how intimate relationships between women are a source of erotic power that connects women, bridges divisions between them, and allows them to embrace differences in order to forge the solidarity necessary to challenge society’s injustices.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Caitlyn N. Parker
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2017 19:19
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 19:19
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/365

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