Re-thinking the Language of Pain in the Works of Marguerite Duras and Frida Kahlo Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Bartolone, Regina F.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • This dissertation is a cross-cultural examination of the creation and the sociocultural implications of the languages of pain in the works of French author, Marguerite Duras and Mexican painter, Frida Kahlo. Recent studies have determined that discursive communication is insufficient in expressing one's pain. In particular, Elaine Scarry maintains that pain destroys language and that its victims must rely on the vocabulary of other cultural spheres in order to express their pain. The problem is that neither Scarry nor any other Western pain scholar can provide an alternative to discursive language to express pain. This study claims that both artists must work beyond their own cultural registers in order to give their pain a language. In the process of expressing their suffering, Duras and Kahlo subvert traditional literary and artistic conventions. Through challenging literary and artistic forms, they begin to re-think and ultimately re-define the way their readers and viewers understand feminine subjectivity, colonial and wartime occupation, personal tragedy, the female body, Christianity and Western hegemony.
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  • Antle, Martine
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