Discussion of the Ideology of the American Dream in the Culture’s Female Discourses: The Untidy House

Author: Kalfopoulou, Adrianne
By deconstructing the gendered terms of cultural representations of the American self, this project traces the many-faceted discursive possibilities of female desire in relation to community. Beginning with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Hester Prynne, a paradigm of gendered dissent, signifies the trajectory of Otherness, of a silenced singularity this work maps through to Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeeping and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. In texts as diverse as Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, Gayl Jones’ Corregidora, Gertrude Stein’s “Melanctha”, Thalia Selz’s “The Education of a Queen” or Hisaye Yamamoto’s “Seventeen Syllables”, Derrida’s definition of differance is used to dismantle ideological and gendered issues of identity. The interdisciplinary contribution of this work explores contemporary debates in language, ethnicity, race and feminist theory as they apply to the ever-varying voice of female desire historically silenced in the tidied rooms of America’s cultural house.

Table of Contents

Table of contents:
Preface by Thalia Selz
Introduction: Unhousing the (Gendered) Self in American Culture
1. Hester’s Ungathered Hair
2. Out of the Father’s House: Towards a Chronology of Desire
3. Shaman: Daughter’s Texts/Mother’s (Con)texts
4. Borders of the Self: Visiting the Possible
Conclusion: Coming Home
Bibliography; Index