Voicing the Body: Elocution and the Desiring Body in Muriel Spark’s The Girls of Slender Means

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2020.05.05
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2020.05
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서지정보

발행기관 : 대한영어영문학회 수록지정보 : 영어영문학연구 / 46권 / 1호
저자명 : ( Jeewon Jung )

영어 초록

Centered on the girls who leave their home and stay in the May of Teck Club in postwar London, Muriel Spark’s The Girls of Slender Means depicts the lives of the girls, particularly their obsession with the slender body. Spark shows the girls’ attempts to lose weight and reveals the violence needed to realize the idealized slim body. Due to the national needs of wartime rationing and also the cultural norms that normalize the thin body as desirable, the girls torture themselves to limit their food consumption and fit into elegant dresses. While Spark mocks the girls’ efforts to be skinny and criticizes the social oppression under which they live, she also captures moments when they seek their own bodily pleasure and achieve what they desire. These moments are rare in the text but significant because those incidents betray the active and resistant ways of claiming the subjectivity of the girls. The essay first briefly examines the ways in which the girls internalize the normalized beauty and discipline their bodies. Since the female body has been controlled to manipulate their temperaments and oppress their sexualities for centuries, the bodily desires of the girls are also regulated by the dominant ideology. The essay moves on to Joanna Childe to explore the ways she practices her sexuality and relishes its pleasure. Although she is punished for her change of mind by the Church, and her desire is named as sin, Joanna through elocution freely expresses her repressed sexuality. By exploring the complex association between her vocality, bodily performance, and sexuality, the essay shows her pursuit of sensual pleasure. (Chonnam National University)

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Voicing the Body: Elocution and the Desiring Body in Muriel Spark’s The Girls of Slender Means