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Jill '66's picture

Jane Eyre and Frankenstein

Spivak's reading of Jane Eyre was bracing and illuminating. I think I will go back again for the deatils I missed as a young reader.

I wish she had added Mansfield Park to her analysis for its almost invisible references to slavery and also for an understanding of the the role of play-acting in creating the double or "other."

Frankenstein I have not read but I trust her description, they feel right to me. I love the idea that the recipient of the letters functions almost like a sleeve in a Dutch painting of the 17th century that seems to fall out of the frame of the picture, opening it up to the viewer's world.

The Spivak essay meshed quite well with the Kaufmann and reasserted to me that an object or end or project of feminist criticism is to reveal injustice as a way of combating it.

In this essay, and in the texts she discusses, injustice is the reaction to the mirror image of what is negative, dark, untamed in us. In imperialism, that is the image of the slave or savage; in other texts it appears to be sex and reproduction. Both seem plausible.

I don't see an obvious connection between imperialism and reproduction unless it is economic necessity--markets must expand, either by reproducing little consumers or by conquest . . .

Others in calss have called Spivak's writing "manic" but I hardly see how her first paragraph can be argued against. It is very clear and compelling.


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