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The Willful Vegetarian: A Feminist Analysis of the Novel The Vegetarian
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Education, Department of Culture and Gender studies.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Den viljefulla vegetarianen : En feministisk analys av romanen The Vegetarian (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

In this essay I argue for how the character Yeong-Hye in Han Kang’s novel The Vegetarian can be read as ‘willful’. I also consider how this willfulness relates to her negotiation of femininity and sexuality, as well as examine the ways in which she can or can not be read as an ‘intelligible subject’. I conclude that she can be read as a willful character partly because she persists in her vegetarianism, despite her family’s disapproval. I argue that her vegetarianism could also be read as a hunger strike, which Sara Ahmed (2014) names as one of the most willful acts of all. In addition, I conclude that Yeong-Hye repeatedly ‘fails’ to perform an intelligent gender in accordance with the ‘heterosexual matrix’, termed so by Judith Butler (1990), and therefore I read her femininity as willful. Her negotiation of sexuality I read as willful seeing as she resists conforming to the dogmas of what Adrienne Rich (1980) calls ‘compulsory heterosexuality’. I also argue that Yeong-Hye’s status as a willful subject renders the position of ‘intelligible subject’ unattainable for her.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , p. 44
Keywords [en]
willfulness, trouble, femininity, female sexuality, intelligible subject, gender performativity, heterosexual matrix, vegetarianism, feminist analysis, feminist literary criticism
National Category
Other Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-69970OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-69970DiVA, id: diva2:1259169
Subject / course
Gender Studies
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Available from: 2019-11-05 Created: 2018-10-28 Last updated: 2019-11-05Bibliographically approved

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