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2016 A JOURNAL OF LITERARY & CULTURAL CRITICISM

A R T I C U L Ā T E


Articulāte A Journal of Literary and Cultural Criticism                      

Spring 2016 Volume XXI


Call for  Papers:     Submissions  will  be  accepted  throughout  the  academic  year  and  should  combine   research  with  original  insight.  Submissions  should  not  exceed  fifteen  typed,   double-­‐spaced  pages,  although  essays  of  greater  length,  which  are  of   exceptionally  high  quality,  will  be  considered  for  publication.  Please  use  MLA   documentation.       Submissions  for  the  2016-­‐2017  academic  year  may  be  submitted  electronically  to   articulate@denison.edu.  Please  submit  your  essay  with  cover  sheet  including  your   name  and  Slayter  box.  The  journal  accepts  submissions  at  any  time  during  the   academic  year,  although  we  generally  make  final  decisions  in  March.     Essays  may  also  be  submitted  to:     Articulāte  Editors   Department  of  English   articulate@denison.edu     Editors-­‐in-­‐Chief:   Senior  Editor:  Rachel  C.  Morrison     Assistant  Editor:  Elizabeth  Postema     Editorial  Board:   Kayla  Boggess   Cheyanne  Cierpial           Prarthana  Iyer   Logan  Smith         Faculty  Advisor:   Dr.  Sylvia  Brown   Department  of  English   Cover  Art  by  Grace  Heutel.  


Table of Contents

The Use  of  Women’s  Bodies  in  Pro-­‐  and  Anti-­‐Fur  Advertisements:  An  Ecofeminist   Analysis.…….…..3   Hannah  Doermann  ‘16     The  God-­‐Hunter:  Parsing  the  Themes  of  Peter  Shaffer’s   Plays..……………………………………………..……15   Elizabeth  Eagle  ‘16     Bigfoot  as  Simulacra:  Why  Bigfoot  Must  Never  Be   Found…………………………………………………………..20   Jillian  Hadley  Koval  ‘16     El  Camino  de  Santiago  and  the  American  Frontier:  Historical  Roots  and  Contemporary   Significance   …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…29 Annie  McAuliffe  ‘16     “O  What  a  Goodly  Outside  Falsehood  Hath!”:  Antonio’s  Manipulation  in  The  Merchant  of   Venice………………….………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…3 8   Clarice  Pranger  ‘17     Winners  of  the  2016  Robert  T.  Wilson  Award  for  Scholarly  Writing   Infinite  Variety:  Ovid  and  the  Transformative  Power  of  Passion  in  Titus  Andronicus  and  Antony   and  Cleopatra   ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………46   Rachel  C.  Morrison  ‘16     The  Practicality  of  the  Paranormal:  Disputing  Genre  Within  Miyabe  Miyuki’s  Detective   Fiction….58   Alexandra  Steele  Richardson  ‘16        


The Use  of  Women’s  Bodies  in  Pro-­‐  and  Anti-­‐Fur  Advertisements:   An  Ecofeminist  Analysis   Hannah  Doermann  ‘16       Ecofeminism  is  a  movement  that  combines  feminism  and  ecological  awareness.  Its   goal  is  to  end  the  domination  of  men  over  women  and  of  culture  over  nature  by  revising  the   patriarchal  power  structure  that,  according  to  ecofeminism,  promotes  both  types  of   oppression.  Vegetarian  ecofeminism  applies  this  theory  specifically  to  animal  rights.  In  this   essay,  I  will  apply  the  theory  of  ecofeminism  to  pro-­‐  and  anti-­‐fur  advertisements,  analyzing   the  portrayals  of  animals  and  women  in  pro-­‐fur  campaigns  distributed  by  the  fashion   industry  and  in  anti-­‐fur  campaigns  by  the  animal  rights  organization  PETA  (People  for  the   Ethical  Treatment  of  Animals).  One  would  assume  that  pro-­‐fur  campaigns  are  opposed  to   ecofeminist  values,  while  PETA’s  advertisements  would  be  more  likely  to  be  considered   ecofeminist.  While  the  fur  industry’s  advertisements  do  promote  the  patriarchal   domination  over  woman  and  animals  that  ecofeminism  aims  to  eradicate,  PETA  has  also   received  much  criticism  from  feminist  activists  for  using  women’s  bodies  in  their   campaigns.  This  criticism  claims  that  the  organization  promotes  animal  rights  at  the  cost  of   objectifying  women.  I  will  further  complicate  this  perception  with  an  in-­‐depth  analysis  of   how  both  pro-­‐fur  and  anti-­‐fur  campaigns  use  women’s  bodies.  I  therefore  argue  that  the   fashion  industry’s  pro-­‐fur  advertisements  facilitate  the  oppression  of  women  and  animals   by  negating  the  animals’  existence  and  presenting  a  limited,  conventional  definition  of   femininity,  while  PETA’s  anti-­‐fur  campaigns  advance  animals’  rights,  some  ads  doing  so  at   the  cost  of  objectifying  women,  others  using  women’s  bodies  to  advance  both  animals’  and   women’s  rights.     Ecofeminist  theories  relate  the  oppression  of  women  to  the  oppression  of  nature.   They  argue  that  nature  is  constructed  as  female  and  culture  is  constructed  as  male,  the   patriarchal,  oppressive  society  we  live  in  promoting  the  superiority  of  culture  and   masculinity  over  nature  and  femininity.  Karen  Warren,  for  example,  demonstrates  the   connection  between  sexist  and  naturist  language  in  the  introduction  to  Ecological  Feminist   Philosophies.  She  explains  that  “women  are  often  described  in  animal  terms  (e.g.  as  cows,   foxes,  chicks,  serpents,  bitches,  beavers,  old  bats,  pussycats,  cats,  birdbrains,  harebrains)”   (xv).  It  is  important  to  note  that  none  of  the  terms  connecting  women  to  animals  empower   women:  they  are  either  used  as  insults  (such  as  “cows,”  “bitches,”  and  “harebrains”)  or  they   sexualize  women  by  only  referring  to  their  physical  appearance  and  sexual  appeal  (such  as   “foxes,”  “chicks,”  and  “pussycats”).  Using  animal  terms  to  refer  to  women  therefore  makes   women  appear  to  be  inferior.  Similarly,  “nature  is  often  described  in  female  and  sexual   terms:  Nature  is  raped,  mastered,  conquered,  controlled,  mined,  [or]  penetrated”  and  is   referred  to  as  “Mother  Nature”  or  “fertile”  land  (xv).  These  terms  demonstrate  the   domination  of  humans  over  nature,  or  of  men  over  women.  Lori  Gruen  points  out  that   ecofeminists  do  not  consider  this  relation  between  nature  and  women  –  which  could  be   seen  as  the  basis  of  ecofeminism  –  to  be  natural  or  to  imply  essential  similarities  between  


women and  nature;  rather,  it  is  “a  constructed  connection  that  has  been  created  by  the   patriarchy  as  a  means  of  oppression”  (61).  Ecofeminists  therefore  want  to  revise  this   perceived  connection  between  women  and  nature,  either  by  completely  destructing  the   connection  and  arguing  against  it,  or  by  promoting  the  idea  that  femininity  and  nature,   even  if  they  are  related,  are  not  inferior  to  masculinity  and  culture.       Vegetarian  ecofeminism  focuses  specifically  on  promoting  the  rights  of  women  and   animals.  Even  if  the  relation  between  women  and  animals  is  connected,  they  are  oppressed   by  our  patriarchal  culture  in  similar  ways.  Carol  J.  Adams  explains  how  women  are   exploited  as  sex  objects  and  animals  are  exploited  as  food,  the  connection  between  the  two   being  made  explicit  for  example  when  women  are  referred  to  as  “pieces  of  meat”   (Ecofeminism  and  the  Eating  of  Animals  117).  Both  are  therefore  seen  from  the  male   perspective,  interpreting  women  and  animals  to  be  “usable  and  consumable”  (Ecofeminism   and  the  Eating  of  Animals  136)  for  men’s  sexual  and  dietary  desires,  respectively.  Adams’s   theory  of  the  “absent  referent”  is  especially  significant  to  understand  vegetarian   ecofeminism.  According  to  this  theory,  animals  “are  absent  from  the  act  of  meat  eating   because  they  have  been  transformed  into  food”  (Ecofeminism  and  the  Eating  of  Animals   136);  people  continue  to  eat  meat  because  they  “don’t  acknowledge  the  step  from  a  live   animal  to  their  dinner  plate”  (Myers-­‐Spiers  6).  Similarly,  Adams  explains  how  women  are   the  “absent  referent”  in  media  that  objectifies  them:  “as  men  look  at  pornography  they  see   women  as  sexual  objects  and  refuse  to  acknowledge  that  they  are  human  beings”  (Myers-­‐ Spiers  6).  The  theory  of  the  absent  referent  therefore  explains  the  oppression  of  animals   and  women  by  men  who  refuse  to  acknowledge  the  agency  of  both.  Vegetarian  ecofeminist   theory  uses  these  ideas  to  argue  that  women  and  animals  should  not  be  absent  from  our   rhetoric;  rather,  both  should  be  seen  as  autonomous  beings  instead  of  objects  for  male   consumption  and  enjoyment.       According  to  this  theoretical  background,  the  fashion  industry’s  pro-­‐fur   advertisements  demonstrate  the  societal  oppression  of  both  animals  and  women.  Pro-­‐fur   advertisements,  such  as  Figures  1  and  2,  illustrate  the  theory  of  the  absent  referent  and   present  animals  as  objects  for  human  consumption  and  women  as  objects  for  male   enjoyment.  These  advertisements  show  women  dressed  fur  and  leather:  the  animals   represent  the  “absent  referent”  in  the  most  obvious  way,  as  they  are  physically  absent  from   the  pictures.  Rather  than  showing  the  animals,  or  even  noting  what  type  of  animal  the  fur   and  leather  come  from,  the  images  only  show  the  products  made  from  the  animals’  fur.   Animals’  fur  is  being  consumed  by  the  women  in  these  images,  and  the  advertisements  are   encouraging  other  women  to  consume  animals  in  the  same  way.  Women,  while  not   physically  absent  from  the  images,  can  still  be  seen  as  the  absent  referent  in  these   advertisements,  as  the  pictures  promote  a  narrow  definition  of  femininity,  as  the  more   detailed  analysis  in  the  following  paragraphs  will  demonstrate.  Even  though  the  images   don’t  directly  cater  to  the  male  gaze  –  as  these  advertisements  are  attempting  to  persuade   female  consumers  to  purchase  these  fur  items  –  they  promote  traditional,  patriarchal   notions  of  femininity  and  beauty  that  have  been  created  by  the  dominant  patriarchal   culture,  therefore  contributing  to  the  oppression  of  women  and  animals.   Figure  1,  a  Christian  Dior  fur  advertisement  from  the  year  1958,  illustrates  the   traditional  definition  of  femininity  that  was  dominant  during  the  mid-­‐1900s.  The  model  is   dressed  in  a  large,  floor-­‐length  fur  coat  over  an  elaborately  bejeweled  dress  or  shirt,  in   addition  to  two  pearl  necklaces  and  pearl  earrings.  Her  hair  is  perfectly  coiffed  and  her  


makeup is  elaborate,  with  striking  red  lips  and  dark  eye  makeup.  This  appearance  gives  the   impression  of  elegance  and  wealth.  It  is  also  worth  noting  that  the  model  is  white,  blonde,   thin,  able-­‐bodied,  and  conventionally  attractive,  promoting  a  racialized,  ableist,  traditional   beauty  standard.  With  the  hint  of  a  smile  and  her  face  turned  away  from  the  camera,  the   model  strikes  a  traditionally  feminine  pose,  as  facing  the  camera  is  usually  associated  with   power,  aggression,  and  masculinity.  It  is  equally  significant  that  the  woman  is  sitting  rather   than  standing;  sitting  suggests  passivity,  which  is  also  associated  with  traditional   femininity.  The  background  further  contributes  to  this  image  of  traditional,  elegant   femininity:  the  elaborate  drapes  by  the  windows  imply  wealth,  and  the  entire  set  –   featuring  a  couch,  pillow,  and  drapes  and  windows  in  the  background  –  gives  the   impression  that  this  picture  was  taken  inside  the  home,  promoting  the  connection  between   femininity  and  domesticity.  The  advertisement  from  1958  therefore  presents  fur  as  an   elegant,  high-­‐class  garment,  and  promotes  the  traditional  image  of  women  as  demure   housewives.   Even  though  Figure  2,  a  Bisang  fur  advertisement  in  the  October  2010  issue  of  Elle   Magazine,  is  52  years  younger  than  the  previous  image,  it  still  promotes  a  very  similar   traditional  and  limited  definition  of  femininity  and  beauty.  This  model  is  dressed  in  a  long,   wide  skirt,  a  sheath  coat,  a  fur  bolero  jacket,  long  leather  gloves,  patterned  stockings,  heels,   and  stud  earrings.  This  outfit  evokes  a  slightly  more  understated  appearance  than  the   combination  of  the  floor-­‐length  fur  coat  and  pearl  jewelry,  but  is  nonetheless  an  elaborate,   elegant,  high-­‐fashion  look.  The  model’s  hair  and  makeup  are  also  reminiscent  of  the   previous  model’s:  her  hair  is  similarly  coiffed,  and  she  also  wears  red  lipstick  and  dark   eyeshadow,  albeit  in  more  neutral,  earthy  tones,  which  presents  a  similar  impression  of   elegance.  The  model’s  appearance  and  slightly  more  understated  look  is  therefore  adapted   to  today’s  time  in  regards  to  fashion,  but  not  in  regards  to  the  definition  of  femininity.  Like   the  previous  model,  this  one  is  white,  blonde,  thin,  able-­‐bodied,  and  conventionally   attractive,  again  perpetuating  racialized,  ableist,  traditional  beauty  standards.  She  also  has   her  face  turned  to  the  side  and  is  kneeling  on  the  ground,  again  striking  a  traditionally   feminine,  passive  pose.  The  background,  while  not  as  traditionally  domestic  as  the  previous   one,  shows  elaborate  carpets  and  drapes,  again  evoking  the  appearance  of  an  expensively   furnished  indoor  space.  These  striking  similarities  between  the  1958  and  2010   advertisements  let  us  infer  a  sense  of  nostalgia  to  a  traditional,  pre-­‐women’s-­‐rights   definition  of  femininity.  In  addition  to  the  image,  the  advertisement’s  caption,  reading  “Fur   transcends  time,”  makes  the  connection  to  the  past  explicit.  This  advertisement  therefore   perpetuates  a  very  traditional  and  limited  definition  of  femininity  and  beauty,  and  presents   fur  as  an  elegant,  classy  garment  only  accessible  to  white,  upper-­‐class,  thin,  able-­‐bodied   women.  The  pro-­‐fur  advertisements  consequently  limit  women’s  expression  and  can  be   seen  as  furthering  women’s  oppression,  in  addition  to  promoting  the  oppression  of  animals   in  more  obvious  ways.     While  PETA’s  campaigns  aim  to  protect  animals’  rights,  most  of  their   advertisements  do  not  use  actual  animals;  rather,  they  use  women’s  bodies  to  represent   animals.  This  relates  directly  to  vegetarian  ecofeminist  theory,  illustrating  the  animals’  role   of  the  absent  referent.  In  her  article  "Disturbing  Images:  Peta  and  the  Feminist  Ethics  of   Animal  Advocacy,"  Maneesha  Deckha  explains  that  “one  reason  PETA  uses  images  of   sexualized  women  is  precisely  because  of  the  strength  of  the  absent  referent:  animals  have   been  made  so  absent  from  consciousness  that  we  cannot  fathom  them  representing  their  


own needs”  (61).  Even  PETA,  an  organization  attempting  to  advance  animals’  rights,   therefore  contributes  to  making  animals  absent  from  our  discourse.  Deckha  also  explains   how  animals  and  women  “are  often  stand-­‐ins  for  each  other  as  the  common  subordinated   denominator  in  hierarchal  and  commodifying  exchanges  of  meat-­‐eating  and  heterosexist   pornography”  (39).  Using  women’s  bodies  instead  of  animals  therefore  makes  explicit  the   constructed  connection  between  animals  and  women  and  the  oppression  of  both  of  them   by  the  dominant  patriarchal  culture.  This  method  could  either  further  the  oppression  of   women  and  animals  or  work  against  it,  depending  on  the  context:  an  uncritical  portrayal  of   women’s  bodies  as  animals  simply  contributes  to  society’s  oppressive  connection  of  the   two,  while  an  advertisement  that  draws  attention  to  the  way  both  are  oppressed  could   work  as  an  effective  critique  of  patriarchal  domination  over  women  and  animals.  We  must   therefore  analyze  in  more  depth  how  PETA  uses  women’s  bodies  in  order  to  evaluate   whether  their  advertisements  advance  animal  rights  at  the  cost  of  objectifying  women  and   thereby  work  against  ecofeminist  goals,  or  whether  they  criticize  the  societal  oppression  of   both  animals  and  women  and  therefore  advance  ecofeminism.   Some  of  PETA’s  “I’d  Rather  Go  Naked  than  Wear  Fur”  advertisements  reinforce   traditional  gender  roles  and  objectify  women,  such  as  Figure  3.  This  advertisement  features   a  naked  woman  writing  the  words  “I’d  rather  go  naked  than  wear  fur”  all  over  a   chalkboard.  The  woman  is  presented  as  a  typical  “schoolgirl,”  an  obviously  infantilized  and   therefore  degrading  image:  her  remorseful  expression  evokes  the  idea  that  she  is  being   chastised,  and  her  hair,  held  back  by  a  headband,  makes  it  appear  as  if  she  is  dressed  as  a   young  girl,  even  though  she  is  completely  naked.  The  woman’s  surroundings  underline  this   impression,  as  the  chalkboard,  the  desk  and  books,  the  old  globe,  and  the  American  flag   make  it  appear  as  if  this  scene  is  taking  place  in  an  old-­‐fashioned  American  classroom.  The   advertisement  therefore  plays  with  the  contrast  between  the  traditional,  even  repressive   or  chastising  environment  of  an  old-­‐fashioned  classroom  and  a  naked  woman;  this  choice   makes  the  woman’s  decision  to  go  naked  rather  than  wear  fur  appear  to  be  a  bold  and   surprising  move  and  makes  the  advertisement,  specifically  the  woman’s  body,  even  more   eye-­‐catching.  The  positioning  of  the  camera  is  also  important  to  consider  within  this   context:  the  picture  was  taken  from  behind  the  desk,  adopting  the  teacher’s  perspective.  In   this  sense,  the  viewer  takes  on  the  role  of  a  “disciplining  authority”  (Deckha  50),  which  is   traditionally  associated  with  masculinity.  The  advertisement  therefore  reinforces   patriarchal  gender  roles  with  a  male  authoritarian  figure  and  a  submissive,  infantilized  and   disempowered  woman,  which  contributes  to  patriarchal  domination  over  women.     PETA’s  “Fur  Trim”  advertisement,  pictured  in  Figure  4,  also  reinforces  patriarchal   gender  roles.  This  image  features  model  Joanna  Krupa  wearing  nothing  but  underwear,   furry  hair  –  as  an  exaggeration  of  pubic  hair  –  growing  out  of  her  underwear  and  onto  both   of  her  legs.  The  caption  reads  “Fur  trim  –  unattractive.  Don’t  ruin  your  look  with  fur.”  The   model’s  seductive  expression,  perfectly  made-­‐up  face,  and  nude  body  are  supposed  to   attract  the  male  viewer,  while  the  exaggerated  amount  of  pubic  hair  is  supposed  to  be   “unattractive”  or  even  revolting.  This  contrast  implies  that,  even  if  a  woman  is   conventionally  attractive,  her  look  will  be  “ruined”  if  she  does  not  shave  her  pubic  hair.  The   image  therefore  reinforces  the  patriarchal  expectation  that  women  alter  their  bodies  in   order  to  appeal  to  the  male  gaze.  Joanna  Krupa’s  hair  is  styled  to  look  artfully  unruly  and   voluminous  and  draws  in  the  viewer’s  attention.  The  hypocrisy  that  men  are  supposed  to   be  attracted  to  this  type  of  hair  but  revolted  by  the  idea  of  pubic  hair  could  have  been  used  


to criticize  society’s  beauty  standards  and  expectations  of  women;  however,  the   categorization  of  hair  of  the  head  as  beautiful  and  pubic  hair  as  shameful  is  not  questioned   but  rather  reinforced  by  the  caption.  This  ad  is  therefore  another  example  of  PETA   attempting  to  advance  animals’  rights  at  the  cost  of  promoting  patriarchal  expectations  of   women  and  can  thus  not  be  considered  ecofeminist.     Figure  5,  PETA’s  “Fake  It…”  advertisement,  oppresses  women  in  similar  ways.  The   ad  features  actress  Melissa  Rivers  wearing  a  (presumably  fake)  fur  coat  over  her  naked   body,  revealing  her  shoulders  and  legs,  with  a  caption  reading  “Fake  it…  for  the  animals’   sake!”  Even  though  this  caption  is  supposed  to  refer  to  wearing  fake  fur  rather  than  real   fur,  it  prompts  its  audience  to  relate  this  to  the  patriarchal  script  that  encourages  women  to   fake  orgasms  as  well.  The  model’s  partial  nudity  and  her  suggestive  pose,  with  the  coat   slipping  off  of  her  shoulders,  is  insinuating  of  a  sexual  subtext,  and  the  caption  makes  this   subtext  explicit.  By  encouraging  women  to  fake  orgasms,  the  advertisement  is  telling  them   to  prioritize  male  satisfaction  over  female  pleasure.  The  subcaption  “for  the  animals’  sake”   illustrates  that  faking  fur  or  orgasms  is  not  for  the  women’s  own  sake  but  rather  someone   else’s  –  animals’  in  the  case  of  fur,  and  men’s  in  the  case  of  orgasms  –    again  prioritizing  the   desires  of  others  over  the  desires  of  women.  By  playing  with  this  patriarchal  script  of   women  faking  orgasms  and  disregarding  their  own  desires  and  pleasure,  PETA’s   advertisement  perpetuates  gendered  power  structures  and  disempowers  women.     This  selection  of  three  PETA  advertisements  illustrates  how  a  variety  of  their   campaigns  advance  animals’  rights  at  the  cost  of  reinforcing  traditional  gender  roles  and   objectifying  women.  It  is  also  important  to  note  that  all  of  these  campaigns  feature  famous,   wealthy,  white,  thin,  able-­‐bodied,  heteronormative,  conventionally  attractive  women;  they   are  the  image  of  privilege.  They  also  all  wear  professionally-­‐done  makeup  and  styled  hair.   These  images  thus  reinforce  racialized,  ableist,  conventional  beauty  standards  and  uphold  a   traditional  definition  of  femininity.  By  promoting  traditional  gender  dynamics  of  the   submissive,  infantilized  female  and  the  dominant  male,  suggesting  that  women  need  to   alter  their  body  for  the  male  gaze,  prioritizing  male  satisfaction  over  female  pleasure,  and   more  generally  promoting  a  limited  definition  of  femininity  and  female  beauty  standards,   these  advertisements  actively  disempower  and  objectify  women,  making  them  the  absent   referent.  Even  though  PETA  aims  to  advance  animals’  rights,  their  campaigns  use  women’s   bodies  to  stand  in  for  animals,  reinforcing  the  animals’  role  as  the  absent  referent.  The   advertisements  mentioned  above  therefore  do  not  question  the  constructed  connection  of   women  and  animals  and  rather  advance  the  patriarchal  societal  structure  that  allows  the   oppression  of  both.  Deckha  explains  how,  due  to  the  “interactive  nature  of  oppressions”   (40),  the  gendered  images  used  in  PETA  campaigns  harm  women,  animals,  and  all   oppressed  groups.  Despite  stemming  from  a  group  with  the  explicit  purpose  of  advancing   animals’  rights  and  social  justice,  these  advertisements  therefore  directly  oppose   ecofeminist  ideas.     However,  not  all  campaigns  that  use  women’s  bodies  in  place  of  animals’  necessarily   exploit  women.  Some  of  their  advertisements  using  women’s  bodies  draw  attention  to  the   socially  constructed  connection  of  woman  and  animals  in  order  to  criticize  the  oppression   of  both.  For  example,  PETA’s  “Pleather  Yourself”  advertisement,  pictured  in  Figure  6,   encourages  female  sexuality  and  could  therefore  be  seen  as  empowering  to  women.  The   advertisement  features  adult-­‐entertainment  performer  Jenna  Jameson,  dressed  in  a  black   pleather  bikini,  long  stockings,  and  heels,  wearing  heavy,  doll-­‐like  makeup.  This  is  a  highly  


sexualized image,  due  to  Jameson’s  recognizability  as  a  pornographic  film  actress  as  well  as   her  nudity  and  sexualized  appearance.  One  could  therefore  assert  that  Jameson  is   portrayed  as  a  sex  object  for  the  male  gaze.  However,  I  argue  that  this  image  resists   subjugation  to  the  male  gaze  due  to  the  caption  “Pleather  Yourself.”  By  encouraging  women   to  “pleather”  (or  pleasure)  themselves,  the  caption  refers  to  seldom-­‐mentioned  female   pleasure  and  masturbation.  The  word  “yourself”  is  very  significant  in  this  context:  the   advertisement  is  directly  addressing  a  woman  as  “yourself,”  rather  than  appealing  to  the   male  gaze  and  a  male  audience.  By  telling  women  to  “pleather”  themselves,  this  campaign  is   giving  women  agency  and  control  over  their  own  sexuality  and  therefore  recognizes   women  to  be  independent  agents.  This  positive  encouragement  of  female  pleasure  stands   in  direct  contrast  with  the  previous  advertisement,  which  tells  women  to  sacrifice  their   own  pleasure  for  the  satisfaction  of  their  (presumably  male)  partners.  We  can  thus  see  how   this  advertisement,  unlike  those  previously  mentioned,  encourages  female  sexuality,   agency,  and  independency,  rather  than  subjugating  women  to  male  expectations  and   portraying  them  as  the  absent  referent.     Figure  7,  another  “Don’t  Wear  Fur”  ad,  empowers  women  in  similar  ways.  This   image  features  Australian  men’s  magazine  model  Kobe  Kaige  dressed  in  a  sexualized  police   officer  costume  and  posing  with  two  bunny  rabbits.  The  advertisement  already  differs   significantly  from  those  previously  discussed  because  it  actually  features  animals,  thus  not   rendering  them  the  absent  referent  the  way  most  of  PETA’s  advertisements  do.  In  the   image,  Kaige  is  wearing  a  revealing  cropped  shirt,  pleather  skirt,  stockings,  and  over-­‐the-­‐ knee  heeled  pleather  boots,  with  a  police  officer’s  hat,  handcuffs,  and  a  belt  with  the   inscription  “police”  conveying  that  she  is  taking  on  the  role  of  a  police  officer.  She  is  also   wearing  heavy,  dark  makeup.  Similarly  to  Jameson,  Kaige  conveys  a  very  sexualized  image   due  to  her  profession  as  well  as  her  appearance  in  this  advertisement,  but  again  I  argue   that  the  context  of  the  image  ensures  that  she  resists  objectification  by  the  male  gaze.  The   caption  reads  “Touch  the  buns  and  you’re  busted  –  don’t  wear  fur,”  the  word  “buns”   referring  both  to  the  woman  and  to  the  bunny  rabbits  at  her  feet.  Using  one  word  to  refer   to  a  woman  and  an  animal  makes  the  constructed  connection  between  animals  and  women   explicit.  But  rather  than  accepting  this  connection  and  the  oppression  of  both  groups,  the   advertisement  actively  challenges  this  oppression:  by  telling  viewers  not  to  “touch  the   buns,”  the  advertisement  addresses  the  killing  of  animals  for  fur  as  well  as  sexual   harassment  and  violence  against  women.  As  Deckha  puts  it,  the  advertisement  is  a  clear   “instruction  to  leave  both  women  and  animals  alone”  (45).  Dressing  Kaige  as  a  police   officer  also  empowers  women:  by  saying  that  those  who  engage  in  the  killing  of  animals  or   the  harassment  of  women  will  be  “busted”  by  Kaige,  the  advertisement  puts  her  into  a   position  of  authority  and  power.  This  advertisement  therefore  empowers  both  animals  and   women  rather  than  presenting  them  as  absent  referents  and  uses  the  socially  constructed   connection  between  women  and  animals  to  criticize  violence  against  both  groups.     P!nk’s  appearance  in  another  “I’d  Rather  Go  Naked  than  Wear  Fur”  advertisement,   featured  in  Figure  8,  can  also  be  seen  as  empowering  for  women.  While  this  advertisement   also  features  a  naked  woman,  it  does  not  objectify  her  the  way  the  previous  example  from   the  “I’d  Rather  Go  Naked”  campaign  does.  P!nk’s  appearance  does  not  perpetuate   traditional  beauty  standards  the  way  most  of  PETA’s  ads  do:  while  she  is  still  white,  thin,   and  able-­‐bodied,  she  has  short  hair  and  prominently  displays  her  tattoos,  characteristics   that  are  usually  associated  with  strength,  power  and  masculinity.  The  image  therefore  


permits more  varied  perceptions  of  femininity  instead  of  upholding  conventional  beauty   standards.  P!nk  also  strikes  a  less  sexualized  pose  by  sitting  comfortably  rather  than   putting  her  body  on  display  for  the  male  gaze.  She  looks  genuinely  happy,  and  her  big  smile   is  causing  wrinkles  to  appear  around  her  mouth,  chin,  and  neck.  These  laugh  lines  directly   oppose  traditional  definitions  of  female  beauty;  P!nk  is  prioritizing  her  own  happiness  over   how  attractive  or  perfectly  feminine  she  may  look  in  the  picture.  The  caption  “Be   comfortable  in  your  own  skin,  and  let  animals  keep  theirs”  underlines  this  notion:  it   encourages  women  to  be  happy  and  “comfortable”  with  their  appearance  instead  of  asking   them  to  alter  their  bodies  in  order  to  fit  conventional  beauty  standards.  Directly  addressing   a  female  “you,”  the  advertisement  appeals  to  a  female  audience  rather  than  to  the  male   gaze.  The  caption  also  makes  the  connection  between  animals  and  women  explicit,  but   again,  instead  of  contributing  to  the  oppression  of  both  groups,  it  argues  that  both  women   and  animals  have  the  right  to  be  happy.  This  advertisement,  in  conjunction  with  the   previous  two,  therefore  encourages  women’s  pleasure,  women’s  right  to  safety,  and   women’s  self-­‐esteem.  In  these  advertisements,  PETA  thus  makes  use  of  the  socially   constructed  connection  between  animals  and  women  in  order  to  critique  the  patriarchal   domination  over  both  groups,  instead  of  rendering  them  absent  referents  the  way  the  ones   previously  mentioned  do.   We  have  seen  that  women’s  bodies  play  significant  roles  in  both  the  fashion   industry’s  pro-­‐fur  advertisements  and  PETA’s  anti-­‐fur  campaigns.  Both  use  women’s   bodies  and  do  not  picture  animals  most  of  the  time,  rendering  them  the  absent  referent;  the   fur  industry  does  this  in  the  conventional  way  of  ignoring  the  reality  of  where  fur  comes   from,  while  PETA  chooses  to  use  women’s  bodies  to  stand  in  for  those  of  animals.  Due  to   their  limited,  conventional  depiction  of  femininity,  pro-­‐fur  advertisements  demonstrate  the   use  of  animals’  and  women’s  bodies  for  the  dominant  patriarchal  culture  that  directly   opposes  ecofeminism.  PETA  uses  women’s  bodies  in  more  varied  ways:  some  of  their   advertisements  objectify  women  and  promote  traditional  gender  roles,  thereby  advancing   the  domination  of  men  over  women,  and  due  to  the  interconnection  of  both  types  of   oppression,  over  animals;  while  other  advertisements  use  the  socially  constructed   connection  between  women  and  animals  to  critique  patriarchal  domination  over  both   groups.  We  can  therefore  conclude  that  the  fashion  industry  embodies  what  ecofeminism   criticizes  about  our  dominant  patriarchal  culture,  and  that  some  of  PETA’s  advertisements   fall  into  the  trap  of  doing  this  as  well,  while  other  PETA  ads  apply  ecofeminist  theory  that   points  out  the  socially  constructed  connection  between  animals  and  women  in  order  to   liberate  both  animals  and  women  the  way  ecofeminism  aims  to  do.  

 


Appendix

Figure 1:  Christian  Dior  fur  ad,  1958.  

Figure 2:  Bisang  fur  ad.  Elle  Magazine,  October  2010.  


Figure 3:  PETA  Ad,  "I'd  Rather  Go  Naked"  (Dominique  Swain),  Flickr.  

Figure 4:  PETA  Ad,  "Fur  Trim:  Unattractive",  PETA.org.uk,  2012.  


Figure 5:  PETA  Ad,  "Fake  It...,”  New  York  Magazine,  2003.  

Figure 6:  "PETA:  Pleather  Yourself,”  AdPulp,  2008.  


Figure 7:  "PETA:  Don't  Wear  Fur,"  news.com.au,  2009.    

Figure 8:  "PETA:  I'd  Rather  Go  Naked"  (P!nk),  eonline.com,  2015.  

 


Works Cited   Adams,  Carol  J.  "Ecofeminism  and  the  Eating  of  Animals."  Hypatia  6.1,  Ecological  Feminism     (1991):  125-­‐45.  JSTOR.  Web.  12  Oct.  2015.   Bisang.  Elle  Magazine,  Oct.  2010.  Web.  16  Dec.  2015.   http://www.csudh.edu/ccauthen/350S11/scan0005.jpg>.   Christian  Dior.  HP  Prints.  1958.  Web.  16  Dec.  2015.   <http://hprints.com/Christian_Dior_Fur_clothing_1958_Photo_Virginia_Thoren-­‐ 13319.html>.   Deckha,  Maneesha.  "Disturbing  Images:  Peta  and  the  Feminist  Ethics  of  Animal  Advocacy."   Ethics  and  the  Environment  13.2  (2008):  35-­‐76.  JSTOR.  Web.  12  Oct.  2015.   Gaard,  Greta.  "Vegetarian  Ecofeminism:  A  Review  Essay."  Frontiers:  A  Journal  of  Women   Studies  23.3  (2002):  117-­‐46.  JSTOR.  Web.  12  Oct.  2015.   Gruen,  Lori.  "Dismantling  Oppression:  An  Analysis  of  the  Connection  Between  Women  and   Animals."  Living  with  Contradictions:  Controversies  in  Feminist  Social  Ethics.  By   Alison  M.  Jaggar.  Boulder:  Westview,  1994.  537-­‐47.  Print.   Myers-­‐Spiers,  Rebecca.  "Not  a  Piece  of  Meat:  Carol  J.  Adams  and  the  Feminist—Vegetarian   Connection."  Off  Our  Backs  29.11  (1999):  6-­‐7.  JSTOR.  Web.  12  Oct.  2015.   “PETA:  Fur  Trim:  Unattractive.”  PETA.org.uk.  2012.  Web.  16  Dec.  2015.   “PETA:  Fake  It…”  New  York  Magazine.  2003.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   “PETA:  I’d  Rather  Go  Naked  (Dominique  Swain).”  Flickr.  N.d.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   “PETA:  Don’t  Wear  Fur.”  News.com.au,  3  Feb.  2009.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   “PETA:  Pleather  Yourself.”  AdPulp,  10  Mar.  2008.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   "PETA:  I'd  Rather  Go  Naked  (P!nk).”  eonline.com,  11  Feb.  2015.   Warren,  Karen.  Ecofeminist  Philosophy:  A  Western  Perspective  on  What  It  Is  and  Why  It     Matters.  Lanham,  MD:  Rowman  &  Littlefield,  2000.  Print.      


The God-­‐Hunter:   Parsing  the  Themes  of  Peter  Shaffer’s  Plays     Elizabeth  Eagle  ‘16       Peter  Shaffer’s  career  as  an  active  playwright  spanned  an  impressive  four  decades,   during  which  he  presented  the  world  with  both  comedic  fun  and  serious  drama.  Of   particular  note  are  three  of  the  plays  in  this  latter  category,  for  they  each  contribute  to  the   theme  into  which  Shaffer  spends  the  bulk  of  his  time  as  a  writer  delving.  This  theme  was   first  broached  in  1964  with  The  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun,  a  drama  concerning  Pizarro’s   historical  conquest  of  the  Incan  population.  It  would  also  appear  in  Amadeus,  a  1979   examination  of  the  psyche  of  Antonio  Salieri,  rival  to  Mozart,  but  the  theme  saw  its   culmination  in  Equus,  the  1973  psychological  profile  of  a  teenage  boy  who  put  out  the  eyes   of  horses  in  a  fit  of  religious  madness.  It  is  the  source  of  that  madness  which  interests   Shaffer;  all  three  of  these  plays  are  attempts  by  Shaffer  to  examine  man  in  relation  to  the   divine.  The  subsequent  paper  details  how  this  is  accomplished  across  his  work,  but  with  a   focus  on  Equus.  This  focus  is  defended  by  the  argument  that  it  comes  nearest  to  succeeding   at  Shaffer’s  vision,  granting  psychiatrist  Martin  Dysart  the  dubious  honor  of  authorial  self-­‐ insertation;  in  other  words,  it  is  Martin  Dysart  who  best  encapsulates  Shaffer’s  struggles   with  religion.     Peter  Shaffer’s  Equus  debuted  on  the  stage  in  1973.  While  the  play  has  accrued  a   kind  of  infamy  for  the  “nudity,  sexuality,  and  celebrity”  (Gavrila  675)  which  characterized   the  2007  revival  starring  Daniel  Radcliffe,  Equus  at  its  core  is  a  story  about  “the   rehabilitation  by  a  psychiatrist  of  a  disturbed  stable  lad  who  has  blinded  six  horses”   (Kalson  514).  It  is  that  last  part  which  Shaffer  ripped  from  the  headlines;  Dennis  Klein   describes  the  inspiring  event  as  such:   The  story  is  based  on  an  event  that  a  friend  of  the  playwright  related  to  him.   One  night  in  a  stable  in  Britain,  a  boy  from  a  “Thou-­‐shalt-­‐not  family”  blinded   twenty-­‐six  horses.  Shaffer  never  confirmed  the  event,  and  the  man  who  told   him  of  the  incident  died  before  Shaffer  could  learn  any  more  about  the  case.   The  story  fascinated  him,  and  he  had  to  write  his  own  interpretation  of  the   tragedy  (Klein  114).     Due  to  the  scarcity  of  concrete  details  about  the  event  in  question,  almost  the  entire  play   has  to  therefore  exist  as  “a  speculative  piece  of  theatre”  through  which  Shaffer  can,  and   does,  examine  his  own  personal  themes  in  what  is  “a  thoroughly  challenging,  yet   breathtaking  experience”  (Pearce).       To  discover  just  which  themes  Shaffer  is  so  intent  upon  examining,  one  must  first   discover  the  play.  Alan  Strang  is  seventeen  years  old  and  under  the  care  of  psychiatrist   Martin  Dysart.  The  scenes  guide  the  audience  through  their  interaction  from  Dysart’s   perspective,  receiving  information  as  he  does.  Flashbacks  are  staged  for  his  and  by   extension  their  benefit,  but  the  play  takes  place  in  linear  time.  Over  multiple  sessions  with   Alan  and  visits  to  those  who  knew  him  best,  Dysart  is  able  to  piece  together  the  


circumstances which  drove  his  patient  to  so  injure  half  a  dozen  horses.  The  truth  slowly   emerges,  and  Alan  is  shown  to  have  a  fascination  for  horses  that  is  at  once  worshipful  and   sexual,  with  a  mythology  centered  on  Equus,  the  ideal  horse.  This  religious  fervor  leads   Alan  to  “thrash  himself”  (Shaffer  43)  and  ride  horses  in  the  nude  as  a  form  of  masturbation   (Shaffer  64).  Once  that  answer  is  discovered,  Dysart  is  posed  with  a  new  dilemma:  should   he,  as  a  psychiatrist,  “erase  the  welts  cut  into  [Alan’s]  mind  by  flying  manes”  (Shaffer  99)   and  thereby  render  him  normal?  As  Albert  Kalson  puts  it,  the  play’s  wider  question   emerges  from  this  terrible  choice  as  this:  “Has  society  the  right  to  tamper  with  what  is   unique  about  an  individual  and  remold  him  into  what  passes  for  an  acceptable  member  of   the  group?”  Shaffer  does  not  give  an  answer,  leaving  Dysart  seeking  desperately  for  “a  way   of  seeing  in  the  dark”  and  finding  only  that  the  constraining  demand  of  society  for   conformity—symbolized  by  a  horse’s  metal  bit—“never  comes  out”  (Shaffer  99).   This  theme  has  a  wide  array  of  situational  applications,  but  it  is  worth  noting  what   Shaffer  chooses  as  catalyst.  For  Alan  Strang,  the  uniqueness  that  ultimately  must  be  purged   from  his  heart  is  religion,  a  subject  in  which  Shaffer  himself  also  appears  to  be  deeply   entrenched.  In  an  essay  titled  “The  Sun  and  the  Horse:  Peter  Shaffer’s  Search  for  Worship,”   James  R.  Stacy  underscores  this  theme  as  one  which  reaches  across  multiple  of  Shaffer’s   works.  Even  as  Alan  “rides  the  horse  into  worshipful,  sexual  ecstasy”  in  Equus,  so  too  do  the   courtiers  “prostrate  themselves  before  their  god-­‐king”  in  The  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun  (Stacy   325).  Lest  audiences  believe  this  to  be  coincidental,  Shaffer  has  gone  on  record  highlighting   the  connection:   In  1965  he  wrote  of  The  Royal  Hunt,  "It  represents  the  sort  of  theatre  I  have   long  dreamed  of  creating,  involving  not  only  words  but  also  mimes,  masks,   and  magics;  a  ceremony  to  be  ultimately  created  by  the  audience,  whose  task   it  will  be  to  create  for  themselves  .  .  .  the  fantastic  apparition  of  the  pre-­‐ Columbian  world,  and  the  terrible  magnificance  of  the  Conquistadors."  Later   he  came  to  realize  that  many  people  viewed  the  ritualistic,  religious  mystery   of  The  Royal  Hunt  in  terms  of  past  history,  "as  though  it  had  nothing  to  do   with  them  today,  as  though  it  were  some  sort  of...  outing."  Thus,  in  Equus   Shaffer  brings  "the  numinous,  .  .  .  the  things  that  throw  shadows  longer  than   themselves"  into  a  contemporary,  more  clearly  relevant  setting,  but  he  still   seeks  to  "conjure  the  same  dark  forces  as  in  The  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun"  (Stacy   325).   What  Stacy  saw  in  1976  was  later  codified  by  Barbara  Lounsberry  in  her  1978  essay  “‘God-­‐ Hunting’:  The  Chaos  of  Worship  in  Peter  Shaffer’s  Equus  and  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun.”  In  this,   she  asserts  that  it  is  “the  rich  mytho-­‐poetic  resonance  of  the  central  god  images  in  each   play  [which]  supplies  the  compelling  intellectual  and  emotional  power”  (Lounsberry  13-­‐ 14).  In  simpler  terms,  it  is  the  presence  of  a  god  which  makes  the  play  function.   Lounsberry’s  coined  term  is  later  used  by  Daniel  R.  Jones  in  an  essay  concerning  Amadeus,   Shaffer’s  1979  work  whose  film  adaptation  won  a  number  of  Academy  Awards,  “including   best  picture,  best  director,  and  best  actor”  (Jones  145).  Jones  here  questions  whether  or  not   Salieri’s  relationship  with  his  conventional  Christian  deity  indicates  that  “Shaffer  has   replaced  his  ‘God-­‐hunting’”  as  a  core  theme  of  his  works  (Jones  146).  With  confidence,  one   can  assert  that  these  three  plays  provide  a  significant  amount  of  evidence  towards  the  idea   that  Peter  Shaffer  is  concerned  deeply  with  how  man  and  religion  interact.  


Yet Shaffer  is  not  a  religious  man,  a  fact  which  brings  the  entire  experience  of   tracing  religion  in  his  plays  into  fresh,  confusing  light.  In  an  interview  conducted  with   Barry  Pree  a  decade  before  Equus  would  make  its  stage  debut,  Shaffer  dismissed  the  idea  of   his  perhaps  someday  writing  “an  attack  on  the  Church”  as  “a  waste  of  energy,”  on  the   grounds  that,  in  his  opinion,  “any  form  of  organized  religion  is  so  totally  ridiculous”  (14).   This  statement  acts  to  separate  the  religious  themes  which  are  so  endemic  to  his  work  from   the  role  of  a  social  critic.  He  is  not  a  Martin  Luther  seeking  reform,  for  to  be  such  makes   one,  as  Pree  asserted,  “a  rebel  rather  than  an  anarchist”  (14).       Despite  this  separatist  attitude,  Shaffer  clearly  has  an  intuitive  understanding  of   how  religion  and  religious  fervor  function  in  human  beings,  with  a  particular  awareness  as   to  the  power  of  music  in  such  cases.  In  Amadeus,  the  audience  is  told  directly  about  the   essential  importance  of  sound  as  Salieri  perceives  that,  in  contrast  to  Mozart,  his   compositions  are  “spiritless  like  his  [faith]”  (Jones  148).  The  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun  contains   “twenty-­‐one  exotically  orchestrated  musical  pieces,”  music  which  is  further  enhanced  by   “bird  cries”  which  are  “indicated  throughout  the  script  for  mood  and  to  accent  dramatic   moments”  (Stacy  327).  Meanwhile  the  presence  of  the  god  Equus  is  heralded  in  the   eponymous  play  by  “humming,  thumping,  and  stamping”  (Shaffer  101),  which  while   perhaps  “not  as  melodic  or  alluring”  (Stacy  327)  as  the  other  examples  nevertheless  creates   the  appropriate  atmosphere  for  a  play  concerned  with  worship.   Yet  despite  this  deep  understanding,  one  still  perceives  Shaffer  unconnected  with   the  notion  of  worship.  In  contrast  to  the  worshipful  Incans,  Alan  Strang,  and  Antonio   Salieri,  “Pizarro  Dysart,  and  Salieri  are  rationalists,”  standing  forth  against  anyone  “who   presents  a  fundamental  challenge  to  reason”  (Jones  150).  Placing  two  individuals  at  odds  is   a  fairly  standard  tactic  for  the  elucidation  of  dramatic  conflict,  but  referring  back  to  the   interview  with  Barry  Pree  shows  on  which  side  of  that  ideological  conflict  Shaffer  considers   himself.  When  asked  by  Pree  as  to  his  reasons  for  preferring  anarchy  to  rebellion,  Shaffer’s   reply  was  this:  “Well  they  all  sell  out.  Jimmy  Porter,  the  Chips  With  Everything  idea,  Luther.   They  all  sell  out  in  the  end”  (14).  This  assertion,  while  unconnected  with  Equus  at  the  time   it  was  made,  nevertheless  sheds  some  light  on  the  struggles  faced  by  Alan  Strang  towards   the  climax  of  the  play.  His  sexual  encounter  with  Jill  Mason  in  the  stable  goes  awry  when   “the  noise  of  Equus  fills  the  place”  (Shaffer  93).  From  then  on,  his  interactions  with  Jill  are   overridden  with  memories  of  Equus:  “every  time  Alan  touched  Jill,  he  felt  horsehide;  when   he  tried  to  kiss  her,  he  ‘heard’  Equus  disapproving;  when  he  tried  to  make  love  to  her,  he   was  impotent”  (Klein  117).  By  choosing  to  lie  with  a  human  woman  rather  than  the  horse   he  worships,  Alan  is  selling  out,  just  as  Shaffer  perceives  past  rebels  have  previously  done.   Nor  can  he  return  things  to  the  status  quo;  although  he  begs  his  god  for  forgiveness   (Shaffer  95),  Equus  merely  promises  that  if  Alan  ever  tries  to  sleep  with  another,  he  will  be   rendered  impotent  again:  “And  you  will  fail!  Forever  and  ever  you  will  fail!  You  will  see   ME—and  you  will  FAIL!”  (Shaffer  96).  It  is  this  circumstance  which  leads  Alan  to  the   conclusion  that  his  god  must  be  blinded.  Declaring  that  he  will  submit  to  this  “No  more,”   Alan  puts  out  the  eyes  of  the  horse,  snarling  that  the  “Godslave”  now  “Seest—NOTHING!”   (Shaffer  96).  This  is  the  final  blow  for  Alan’s  religion;  he  is  become  like  Luther  in  Peter   Shaffer’s  eyes.  This  failure  is  played  out  in  his  other  plays  as  well;  Salieri  in  particular   demonstrates  “bitterness  toward  God”  (Jones  147)  as  he  tries  to  undermine  the  man   perceived  by  him  to  be  his  deity’s  chosen  composer.    


Discovering this  undercurrent  of  failed  religious  fervor  in  Peter  Shaffer’s  plays  does   not  fully  explain  his  purpose  in  writing  this  particular  theme  repeatedly.  Each  play  may   feature  “the  god’s  murder,  mutilation,  or  abandonment  when  the  god  is  found,”  but  each   one  nevertheless  also  heavily  features  “an  extended  search  for  a  god”  (Lounsberry  15).  If   Shaffer  only  wished  to  showcase  the  inherent  hollowness  of  religion,  he  would  not  need  the   exploratory  section  of  the  work  and  could  instead  focus  entirely  on  how  fanatics  destroy   the  thing  they  adore.  This  suggests  that  Shaffer  considers  himself,  in  some  degree,   personally  invested  in  the  search  for  a  religious  figure,  even  if  that  search  proves  time  and   again  to  be  futile.   This,  then,  brings  home  the  essential  argument  of  this  paper.  Peter  Shaffer   specifically  resembles  his  writing  in  the  form  of  Martin  Dysart  as  it  pertains  to  the  quest  for   a  higher  power.  Perhaps  he  is  also  somewhat  reminiscent  of  Pizarro,  a  character  who  holds   a  very  similar  role  to  Dysart  in  The  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun  (Lounsberry  15),  but  there  are   aspects  of  the  character  which  stand  in  the  way  of  a  proper  comparison.  Shaffer  admits  this   in  the  interview  with  Pree:  “I  felt  more  and  more  inclined  to  draw  the  character  Pizarro,   who  is  a  Catholic,  as  an  atheist,  or  at  least  as  a  man  who  explores  what  and  who  I  am”  (64).   By  his  own  confession,  Pizarro  is  designed  to  be  a  vehicle  by  which  Shaffer  can  examine  his   own  perceptions  regarding  religion  as  it  is  iterated  in  The  Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun.  Yet  in  that   same  statement,  Shaffer  reveals  the  limitations  of  working  within  an  established  historical   figure;  he  cannot  entirely  alter  the  truth  of  Pizarro’s  real  piety  because  the  man  did  at  one   time  actually  exist.     Martin  Dysart  does  not  suffer  under  this  problem,  being  a  fictional  psychiatrist.   What’s  more,  Shaffer  openly  admits  that  Dysart  was  designed  to  address  the  questions   posed  by  the  play,  further  supporting  the  idea  of  him  in  the  role  of  an  authorial  self-­‐insert.   When  discussing  the  supposedly  true  story  which  led  to  the  creation  of  Equus,  Shaffer  has   this  to  say  about  his  feelings  in  the  wake  of  his  friend’s  aforementioned  death:     All  I  possessed  was  his  report  of  a  dreadful  event,  and  the  feeling  it   engendered  in  me.  I  knew  very  strongly  that  I  wanted  to  interpret  it  in  some   entirely  personal  way.  I  had  to  create  a  mental  world  in  which  the  deed  could   be  made  comprehensible  (Shaffer  4).   So  why,  then,  did  Peter  Shaffer  decide  to  make  his  work  more  comprehensible  by  the   inclusion  of  a  therapist  haunted  with  questions  about  the  nature  of  God?  Jones  suggests   that  Dysart  exists  as  a  lens  for  interpreting  Alan  Strang,  a  lens  by  which  the  audience  may   perceive  “what  Shaffer  believes  is  man’s  primordial  need  for  worship”  (Jones  151).  Yet   Dysart  has  his  own  religious  struggles;  he  is  not  merely  a  passive  observer  of  what   transpires  in  Alan’s  life.  Dysart  has  “very  explicit”  dreams  of  being  a  high  priest  whose  child   sacrifices  are  tainted  by  an  “implied  doubt  that  this  repetitive  and  smelly  work  is  doing  any   social  good  at  all”  (Shaffer  14-­‐15).  While  this  can  and  does  relate  to  Dysart’s  role  as  a   suppressor  of  Alan’s  mad  passion,  it  still  is  worth  noting  how  much  the  man  seeks  religion,   even  outside  the  context  of  interactions  with  his  patient’s  horse  god.  Indeed,  his   juxtaposition  against  Alan  serves  to  reveal  that  Dysart  is  “both  physically  and  spiritually   sterile,”  a  man  whose  “fondness  for  browsing  through  art  books  on  mythical  Greece  is  a   poor  substitute  for  real  worship”  (Jones  146).  This  harsh  self-­‐critique  gains  extra  edge   when  given  the  context  of  Shaffer’s  own  self-­‐reflection.       In  the  end,  however,  Shaffer  reveals  that  he  cannot  determine  a  simple  answer  for   himself  as  to  the  role  of  religion.  At  the  end  of  Equus,  “professional  concerns  prevail”  (Klein  


126), meaning  that  Dysart  must  begin  to  reintegrate  Alan  Strang  into  ordinary  society.  This   “final  predicament”  has  Dysart  “trapped  between  reason  and  faith”  (Jones  151)  and  does   not  give  a  clear  answer  as  to  which  is  preferable.  Certainly  Dysart  does  treat  Alan,  a   rational  move  which  strips  away  the  faith  which  has  twisted  Alan  into  attacking  horses.  Yet   the  regret  he  feels  in  doing  so  is  palpable  to  the  audience.  Dysart  openly  laments  how  what   he  does  is  “more  likely  to  make  a  ghost”  out  of  Alan  than  a  passionate  yet  sane  member  of   society;  as  Dysart  so  eloquently  puts  it,  “Passion...  can  be  destroyed  by  a  doctor.  It  cannot   be  created”  (Shaffer  99).  What  Dysart  does  means  that  Alan  will  be  “[m]ore  or  less   completely  without  pain,”  but  the  flip  side  of  that  coin  is  the  loss  of  the  intensity  of  positive   emotion  which  he  also  once  felt  (Shaffer  99).  Perhaps  Shaffer  does  not  need  to  personally   excise  a  fervid  spirit  from  any  true  individual,  but  he  nevertheless  sees  Dysart’s  dilemma  as   a  microcosm  of  the  larger  struggle  between  the  two  existing  forces.       As  an  artist,  Peter  Shaffer  spent  the  peak  of  his  career  investigating  the  inherent   value  of  worshipful  tendencies  in  a  world  that  is  dominated  by  established  religions.  This   examination  is  most  fully  realized  in  Equus,  where  the  constraints  of  historical  accuracy  are   not  present  to  bind  Shaffer  in  his  characterization.  As  a  result,  it  is  Martin  Dysart  who  best   embodies  the  struggle  Shaffer  himself  appears  to  feel  in  crafting  his  dramatic  works.   Shaffer  does  not  offer  answers  for  either  Dysart  or  the  audience  by  the  end  of  his  play,  and   the  fact  that  Amadeus  would  later  take  up  the  same  themes  suggests  that  this  may  be  for  no   reason  other  than  his  own  uncertainty  as  to  what  the  answer  may  in  actuality  be.           Works  Cited   Gavrila,  Rebecca.  “Equus  by  Peter  Shaffer,  Thea  Sharrock.”  Theatre  Journal  59.4  (2007):   674-­‐676.  JSTOR.  Web.  25  Oct.  2015.   Jones,  Daniel  R.  “Peter  Shaffer's  Continued  Quest  for  God  in  Amadeus”.  Comparative   Drama  21.2  (1987):  145–155.  Web.  11  Nov.  2015.   Kalson,  Albert  E.  “Equus  by  Peter  Shaffer.”  Educational  Theatre  Journal  25.4  (1973):  514-­‐ 515.  JSTOR.  Web.  26  Oct.  2015.   Klein,  Dennis  A.  Peter  Shaffer.  New  York:  Twayne  Publishers,  1993.  Print.   Lounsberry,  Barbara.  “‘God-­‐Hunting’:  The  Chaos  of  Worship  in  Peter  Shaffer’s  Equus  and   Royal  Hunt  of  the  Sun.”  Modern  Drama  21.1  (1978):  13-­‐28.  Project  Muse.  Web.  12   Nov.  2015.   Pearce,  Ian.  “Review:  Equus.”  BBC.com.  The  BBC,  24  Sept.  2014.  Web.  24  Oct.  2015.     Shaffer,  Peter.  Equus.  New  York:  Samuel  French,  1973.  Print.   Shaffer,  Peter,  and  Barry  Pree.  “Peter  Shaffer:  INTERVIEWED  BY  BARRY  PREE”.  The   Transatlantic  Review  14  (1963):  62–66.  Web.  12  Nov.  2015.   Stacy,  James  R.  “The  Sun  and  the  Horse:  Peter  Shaffer’s  Search  for  Worship.”  Educational   Theatre  Journal  28.3  (1976):  325-­‐337.  JSTOR.  Web.  25  Oct.  2015.      


Bigfoot as  Simulacra:     Why  Bigfoot  Must  Never  Be  Found       Jillian  Hadley  Koval  ‘16      

In a  1985  movie  called  Boggy  Creek  II:  And  The  Legend  Continues,  the  sequel  to  the   cult  Bigfoot  horror  documentary  Boggy  Creek,  an  anthropology  professor  and  three   students  head  into  the  Arkansas  swamps  to  look  for  the  Boggy  Creek  Creature,  a   mysterious  animal  similar  to  Bigfoot  that  has  been  harassing  locals  for  years.  The  film   opens  upon  the  glistening  waters  and  fauna  of  the  swamps,  under-­‐toned  with  danger  by   soothing  but  ominous  music.  A  voice  over  declares:  “Is  it  man?  Is  it  a  creature?  Or  is  it   myth?”  (Boggy  Creek)  as  we  watch  a  large  gorilla-­‐like  figure  mutilate  a  deer.  In  this  little   known  B-­‐movie,  like  many  others  of  the  same  era  which  garnered  “a  cultish  devotion”   (Buhs,  “Camping”  43),  the  classic  Bigfoot  tropes  are  present:  the  dedicated  scientist  looking   for  answers,  the  skeptical  locals  at  odds  with  those  claiming  to  have  seen  something   strange,  and  the  eventual  realization  “that  thing  oughta  be  left  alone.  To  remain  free  and   live  in  the  wild”  (Boggy  Creek).  The  film  seeks  to  set  up  the  image  of  an  untouched  and   somewhat  inaccessible  wilderness,  wherein  a  Bigfoot  creature  is  not  an  anomaly  but  an   essential  cog  in  the  ecosystem,  as  wild  and  unknown  to  mankind  as  the  deepest  haunts  of   the  swamp  waters.  Across  America  Bigfoot  is  inextricably  tied  to  ideas  of  wildness  as  well   as  inaccessibility,  and  as  one  of  the  most  famous  cryptids  has  become  the  signifier  of  many   American  anxieties  about  the  future  of  the  environment.  There  is  a  larger  question  than   ‘does  he  exist’  lurking  above  the  modern  American  landscape  with  its  disappearing  forests   and  crowded,  over-­‐regulated  wild  areas,  a  question  of  why  the  American  public  has   sustained  the  Bigfoot  myth  for  so  long  into  an  age  reliant  on  scientific  fact  and  evidence.   Venturing  further  into  the  tangled  woods  of  Bigfoot  lore  and  scientific  inquiry,  one  finds   that  at  his  core,  Bigfoot  is  defined  by  his  inaccessibility  and  that  he  stands  in  as  a  simulacra   of  a  vanishing  American  wilderness.  In  the  case  of  nature,  “...the  American  imagination   demands  the  real  thing  and,  to  attain  it,  must  fabricate  the  absolute  fake”  (Eco  8)  a  myth  to   bear  the  role  of  signifier.  In  Boggy  Creek  II,  the  epiphany  that  what  exists  in  the  wild  must   be  left  to  live  as  it  pleases  mirrors  American  sentiments  towards  a  wilderness  that  is  slowly   being  overtaken,  and  Bigfoot  is  the  last  monument  to  a  vanishing  landscape  which  may   already  have  disappeared.       It’s  hard  to  deny  or  avoid  the  Bigfoot  obsession  that  marks  America  today.  T-­‐shirts,   patches,  artwork,  socks,  and  even  stuffed  animals  flood  online  markets.  Often  seen  in   tandem  with  alien  conspiracies  and  discussions  of  the  supernatural,  Bigfoot  has  been  called   everything  from  a  “forest  spirit”  (Dockett,  “Top  Theories”)  to  an  “extraterrestrial”  (Dockett,   “  Top  Theories”)  to  a  “rare  North  American  primate”  (Dockett,  “Top  Theories”).  Online   articles  and  comment  sections  debate  the  veracity  of  the  evidence  and  present  readers  with   polls  as  to  Bigfoot’s  existence  and  behaviors.  The  2015  Chapman  University  Survey  on   American  Fears  shows  that  only  11.4  percent  of  Americans  accept  Bigfoot  as  a  biological   reality,  less  than  believe  in  UFOs  and  legitimate  hauntings  (Ledbetter).  Regardless  of  his   believability,  he  has  entered  American  popular  culture  in  almost  every  medium.  The  movie  


Boggy Creek  II  is  one  of  many  B-­‐movies  involving  Bigfoot,  and  he  has  starred  in  his  own   plays  and  even  pornographic  films  throughout  the  last  century.  Bigfoot’s  legacy,  however,   goes  back  much  further  into  pre-­‐colonized  American  culture  even  before  settlers  began   having  encounters  with  a  ‘wildman.’     To  understand  the  hold  Bigfoot  has  on  American  imagination,  one  must  examine  his   roots  as  a  manifestation  of  wilderness,  which  extend  back  to  native  ‘wildman’  folklore   (“Native  American  Bigfoot”)  and  American  literary  traditions  revolving  around  the   ‘vanishing  Indian’  mythos  of  the  nineteenth  century.  Scholars  and  folklorists  generally   accept  Bigfoot  is  an  extension  of  the  ‘wildman’  archetype  encountered  in  many  native   cultures  (Buhs,  Life  and  Times  17).  Internet  theorists  posit  that  “Native  American  Bigfoot   legends  would  have  been  passed  down  to  early  European  explorers...  Naturally,  Europeans   would  have  built  upon  the  myth  themselves,  and  perpetuated  it  to  present  day”  (Dockett,   “Top  Theories”)  and  that  “we  know  these  stories  exist,  not  only  because  of  the  accounts  of   the  early  settlers  but  because  of  thousands  of  years  of  Native  American  lore”  (Cryptid,   “Facts  and  Theories”).    The  ‘wildman’  narrative  was  a  direct  link  to  nature,  and  “provided  a   way  of  thinking  about  what  it  means  to  be  human”  (Buhs,  Life  and  Times  3).  Bigfoot  is  an   extension  of  this  and  became  an  “embodiment  of  nature,  the  earth  and  all  that  is  green  and   contrary  to  control”  (Buhs,  “Camping”  44),  defined  both  by  his  wildness  and  his   inaccessibility.     It  is  no  coincidence  that  Bigfoot  was  first  spotted  in  the  early  nineteenth  century,   around  the  time  in  American  history  when  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  myth  was  at  its  peak,  as   writers  like  James  Fenimore  Cooper  were  writing  tales  like  The  Last  of  the  Mohicans,  aptly   named  for  its  romanticization  of  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  trope.  The  logic  of  the  trope  posited   that  “if  Indians  were  timeless  and  natural  there  could  be  little  doubt  they  would  disappear   before  people  of  progress  and  industry”  (Warren  362).  Such  a  destiny  drove  men  like   Edward  S.  Curtis  westward  to  photograph  and  preserve  the  flickering  remnants  of  native   culture  in  his  famous  series  of  photographs,  the  North  American  Indian  collection.     Both   the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  and  Bigfoot  bear  the  burden  of  being  one  of  only  a  few  survivors  of  a   moribund  race  steeped  in  history  but  vulnerable  to  modernity.    His  rarity  mimicked  the   plight  of  the  Native  American  who  had  also  been  reduced  to  a  minority  in  their  own   landscape  by  ‘civilization.’  Likewise,  “Bigfoot  was  an  incarnation  of  the  American  frontier”   (Buhs,  “Camping”  44)  and  is  easily  compared  to  Native  Americans  (44)  both  in  his  role  as   manifestation  of  wilderness  and  his  narrative  tradition.  It  was  claimed  that   “Sasquatches...had  once  been  real  but  were  no  longer  because  civilization  killed  them”  (46)   and  that  “by  the  time  science  caught  up  with  the  New  World,  perhaps  Bigfoot  had  already   become  extremely  rare,  even  on  the  verge  of  extinction”  (Cryptid,  “Facts  and  Theories”).   Bigfoot  was  a  lingering  presence  in  a  disappearing  wilderness.       For  early  Americans,  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  “resemble[d]  what  colonists  most  valued   in  themselves”  (Warren  367),  that  is  an  identity  forged  with  nature.  The  ‘wildman’   narrative  was  also  a  means  of  identity,  and  “provided  a  way  of  thinking  about  what  it   means  to  be  human”  (Buhs,  Life  and  Times  3).  Through  years  of  narrative  evolution,  Bigfoot   has  come  to  symbolize  what  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  used  to;  when  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’   disappeared,  Bigfoot  was  born.  For  Americans,  “Bigfoot  seemed  to  embody  the  authentic:   the  monster  was  wild,  hairy,  in  touch  with  the  fundamental  forces  of  nature,  unblemished   by  modern  society”  (Buhs,  “Camping”  53)  and  represented  a  “dream  of  an  all-­‐natural   authenticity,  which...people  immersed  in  the  artificial  junk  of  consumer  society  long  for”  


(45). America  has  long  had  a  tendency  for  “the  ravenous  consumption  of  the  present  and...   the  constant  ‘past-­‐izing’  process  carried  out...  in  its  alternate  process  of  futuristic  planning   and  nostalgic  remorse”  (Eco  9-­‐10).  Bigfoot’s  first  appearances  came  during  a  time  in   American  history  when  “everyday  transactions  were  increasingly  conducted  between   strangers—raising  the  specter  of  fraud...and  new  technologies  made  possible  the  creation   of  fake  things...[and]  pictures  that  seemed  to  reproduce  moments  otherwise  lost  to  time”   (Buhs,  Life  and  Time  10).  The  lines  between  real  and  simulated  were  becoming   increasingly  unclear.  Nostalgia  for  a  simpler  past  demanded  the  creation  of  a  symbol  to   bear  this  anxiety  that  accompanied  the  blurring  of  real  and  fake.  Bigfoot  stands  on  this  line   where  the  future  of  American  nature  and  industry  meets  the  nostalgic  remorse  of  the  near   elimination  of  Indian  culture  in  tandem  with  the  elimination  of  wilderness,  a  mythical   creature  standing  in  for  real  absence.  “The  condition  for  the  amalgamation  of  fake  and   authentic  is  that  there  must  have  been  a  historic  catastrophe”  (Eco  36),  in  this  case  the   genocide  of  the  indigenous  population  and  the  slow  destruction  of  the  untamable  frontier   by  industry  and  urbanization,  which  gave  rise  to  the  adoption  of  the  Bigfoot  simulacra  to   alleviate  this  “nostalgic  remorse”  (10).     Accepting  that  Bigfoot  inherited  the  Indian’s  role  as  signifier  and  manifestation  of  an   untamed  American  wilderness,  one  must  note  his  reality  is  marked  by  a  significant   absence.  Believers  and  skeptics  alike  argue  over  the  veracity  of  Bigfoot’s  existence  based  on   a  severe  lack  of  definitive  evidence  limited  to  eyewitness  accounts  and  a  plethora  of   controversial  footprints.  Around  the  mid  nineteenth  century,  anthropology  and  the   biological  sciences  had  seen  a  resurgence  based  on  Darwin’s  revolutionary  theories  about   evolution,  fueling  the  beginnings  of  anomalous  primate  research  in  the  mid  twentieth   century,  led  by  such  controversial  scientists  as  Grover  Krantz.  Bigfoot  represented  a   possible  evolutionary  stagnation,  bridging  the  gap  between  the  wild  and  humans,  as  “the   wildman  was  the  residue  of  our  evolutionary  past,  the  animalistic,  untamed,  uncivilized   part  of  us”  (Buhs,  Life  and  Times  6).  He  quickly  became  a  biological  pursuit  for  scientists   and  amateurs  alike  looking  for  scientific  evidence,  yet  in  over  a  century  of  research  nothing   definitive  has  been  found.  Believers  argue  that  Bigfoot  populations  may  number  lower  than   the  endangered  grizzly  bear  and  scatter  much  further;  that  a  possible  Bigfoot  relative,   gigantopithecus  blacki,  only  exists  as  a  single  jawbone  (Dockett,  “If  Bigfoot  is  Real”);  and   perhaps  that  Bigfoot,  having  the  intelligence  found  in  modern  primates,  buries  its  dead   (Dockett,  “If  Bigfoot  is  Real”).    All  these  explanations  could  explain  the  lack  of  definitive   evidence,  but  the  search  continues.         In  the  television  show  Finding  Bigfoot,  a  team  of  intrepid  searchers  travel  across   America  following  reports  of  Sasquatch  in  hopes  of  securing  definitive  photographic  or   organic  evidence.  In  one  episode  the  resident  skeptic  (and  only  occupational  scientist)  of   the  group  comments,  “Seeing  is  believing,  and  since  I’ve  never  seen  a  Sasquatch,  I  honestly   don’t  believe...  but  the  fact  still  remains  that  anecdotal  and  so-­‐called  expert  testimony  is  the   weakest  form  of  evidence.  What  I  need  is  irrevocable  scientific  evidence”  (“Spooky   Bayous”).  While  the  weakest  form  of  evidence,  it  is  the  largest  portion,  in  fact  “the  majority   of  scholarly  works  since  the  1960’s  have  been  from  folklorists  who  look  at  the  narrative   and  legendary  quality  of  stories  and  sightings...”  (Regal  86-­‐87)  not  scientists.    This  in  itself   is  significant,  as  it  portrays  Bigfoot  as  a  creature  made  of  stories  and  not  science.  In  this,   Bigfoot  is  a  simulacra,  as  he  is  defined  by  a  body  of  evidence  not  based  on  a  physical  reality   but  a  narrative  one,  and  his  existence  is  meant  to  serve  a  narrative  purpose.    


This is  significant  because  across  platforms  of  discussion,  the  common  agreement  is   that  the  overwhelming  amount  of  testimony  of  those  lucky  enough  to  encounter  a  Bigfoot  is   unable  to  be  ignored  for  its  sheer  size,  and  instead  of  clashing  with  empirical  evidence  is  its   own  empirical  evidence.  Many  would  argue  that  “there  can  be  no  such  thing  as  ‘Bigfoot   facts’  when  studying  a  creature  like  this,”  yet  “it’s  a  fact  that  people  are  routinely  claiming   to  see  a  large,  bipedal  ape-­‐like  creature  all  across  North  America”  (Cryptid,  “Facts  and   Theories”).  One  believer  proclaims  that  “the  ability  to  form  theories  that  can’t  yet  be   validated,  but  seem  to  fit  another  set  of  facts,  is  what  moves  science  along.  That  other  set  of   facts  is  the  plethora  of  sightings  and  firsthand  accounts  that  tell  us  Bigfoot  is  out  there...   and  according  to  witnesses...  it  is  very  real”  (Dockett,  “Top  Theories”).  This  pattern  that   dictates  because  there  are  stories  of  Bigfoot  then  he  must  be  real,  where  the  reality  of   stories  comes  before  the  reality  of  presence,  is  a  “precession  of  the  model”  (Baudillard  175)   typical  of  a  simulacra.  Grover  Krantz  himself  claimed  that  “physical  evidence...said  little  of   use  about  the  natural  world  until  theoretical  paradigms  were  constructed  to  make  sense  of   it”  (Regal  94),  suggesting  myth  informs  empirical  data  and  not  the  opposite  way  around.   Because  these  stories  composite  the  majority  of  Bigfoot  canon,  they  are  thus  the  only   definitive  marker  of  his  reality.       Because  of  this,  hoaxing  has  a  more  sacred  place  at  the  heart  of  Bigfoot  canon  than   many  scientifically-­‐minded  believers  would  like  to  admit  because  its  efficacy  and   popularity  solidify  the  Bigfoot  as  simulacra  claim.  In  the  case  of  a  simulacra,  “the  copy  is   authentic”  (Eco  55),  meaning  that  hoaxing  is  actually  a  primary  force  in  creating  and   maintaining  Bigfoot  mythos,  as  “this  is  the  reason...the  American  imagination  demands  the   real  thing  and,  to  attain  it,  must  fabricate  the  absolute  fake”  (8).  Hoaxing  is  a  method  of   creating  evidence  in  its  vacuum,  simulating  encounters  in  their  absence.  In  this  “it  is  no   longer  a  question  of  parody...rather  a  question  of  substituting  signs  of  the  real  for  the  real   (Baudrillard  167).  It  is  no  coincidence  the  name  “Bigfoot”  which  exists  today  was  coined  in   tandem  with  the  first  recorded  Bigfoot  hoax  of  the  twentieth  century  in  1958.  Years  after   unusually  large  tracks  had  been  found  near  a  wood  mill  by  a  man  named  Ray  Wallace,  it   was  revealed  that  “he  used  a  16-­‐inch  model  of  a  human  foot  a  friend  carved  from  alder   wood  to  leave  tracks  around  logging  gear  as  a  prank  on  a  fellow  logger”  (Martelle).  Thus,   Bigfoot  hoaxes  are,  in  fact,  the  way  by  which  he  manifests  himself.       Similarly,  in  2004  a  sixteen  year  old  hoaxer  Chayse  Pirello  was  able  to  fool  the   citizens  of  Stevens  County,  Washington  by  lumbering  around  in  a  simple  gorilla  suit.  After  a   slew  of  photographs  and  police  reports,  he  and  his  accomplices  were  brought  in  for   questioning.  Their  motivations  included  both  the  “humor  potential”  (Clark)  as  well  as  the   desire  to  “breathe  new  life  into  the  Bigfoot  saga”  (Clark).  Likewise,  in  later  years  Ray   Wallace’s  family  was  quoted  as  saying  he  was  “a  prankster,  but  never  malicious”  (Martelle).   In  this,  we  see  the  hoaxer’s  central  motivation  is  not  necessarily  that  of  undermining  the   entire  movement  altogether  but  instead  trying  to  bolster  it.  By  contributing  “false”   experiences  to  a  canon  of  Bigfoot  witness  testimony,  the  hoaxer  is  using  simulation  to  stand   in  for  authentic  experience.  In  a  simulacra,  “the  sign  aims  to  be  the  thing,  to  abolish  the   distinction  of  the  reference,  the  mechanism  of  replacement”  (Eco  7).  The  hoax  is  not   parodying  the  authentic  Bigfoot  encounter,  it  is  the  authentic  encounter.  For  Pirello,   “breath[ing]  new  life  into  the  Bigfoot  saga”  (Clark)  meant  that  those  he  sought  to  fool  must   believe  that  their  encounter  with  the  costume  simulation  was  real,  that  “the  copy  is  


authentic” (Eco  55).  Thus,  Bigfoot  hoaxes  are,  in  fact,  the  way  by  which  he  manifests   himself.     Likewise,  in  the  film  Boggy  Creek  II,  the  three  students  and  their  professor  enter  a   rural  store  for  ammunition.  The  skeptical  locals  in  a  store  say  “We  oughta  go  down  there  to   that  swamp  tonight  with  a  monkey  suit  and  these  folks  would  stay  tomorrow  night  at  a   hotel”  (Boggy  Creek).  Their  initial  reaction  to  the  four  researchers  on  the  search  for  what   they  believe  doesn’t  exist  is  to  create  a  simulated  experience  meant  to  earnestly  fool  them.   While  in  this  instance,  it  is  meant  to  prove  a  point  against  “city  folk  wanting  their  names  in   the  papers”  (Boggy  Creek),  it  confirms  the  way  that  simulated  experience  fills  in  the  gap  of   authentic  experience.  The  scholar  Jean  Baudrillard  contends  that  a  simulated  experience   can  become  the  authentic,  using  the  example  of  a  staged  bank  robbery,  wherein  there  is  no   “objective  difference”  (178)  between  the  faked  robbery  and  a  real  one.  Regardless  of  intent,   the  crime  is  punished  the  same  as  a  real  robbery  by  the  law:  “As  far  as  the  established   order  is  concerned,  they  are  always  of  the  order  of  the  real”  (178).  Going  off  this  example,   the  authenticity  at  the  center  of  an  event  is  irrelevant  to  its  simulated  reality.  Bigfoot  must   “reveal  [himself]  through  physical  means”  (Eco  57)  -­‐  that  is  photographs,  footprints,  and   video  -­‐  but  by  no  means  is  it  required  that  these  be  authentic.  Believers  stand  in  for   ‘established  order’  of  Baudrillard’s  scenario  to  determine  truth,  seeking  out  the  authentic  in   a  ocean  of  uncertainty.  A  simulacra  “no  longer  has  to  be  rational,  since  it  is  no  longer   measured  against  some  ideal  or  negative  instance”  (Baudrillard  167).  For  any  hoax  to  be   effective  (as  Pirello’s  and  Wallace’s  were  for  a  time),  there  must  be  no  real  thing  against   which  the  simulation  can  be  compared  that  is,  biological  fact,  and  in  the  case  of  Bigfoot,   there  is  not.      Such  stories  are  not  uncommon  because  of  this  lack  of  evidence.  Even  Grover   Krantz,  who  lauded  himself  as  un-­‐hoaxable  fell  prey  to  those  who  met  his  challenge,   accumulating  criticism  from  both  sides  of  the  argument  after  he  “had  accepted  as  genuine  a   set  of  track  casts  which  had  been  intentionally  faked  in  order  to  test  Krantz’s  mettle”  (Regal   84).  What  this  reveals  is  that  true  ‘expertise’  on  the  simulation  is  impossible  because  its   original  does  not  exist.  Instead  believers  claim  instead  that  “if  you’ve  been  looking  at  these   things  for  a  long  time,  you  can  kind  of  pick  out  the  red  flags  that  are  consistent  with  what  a   hoaxer  would  do,”  a  believer  states  (“Real  versus  Fake”).  Krantz  upheld  that  “a  hoaxer   would  have  to  posses  a  special  prowess”  (Regal  91)  and  stated  “the  kind  of  anatomical   knowledge  needed  to  distinguish  genuine  from  fake  prints  was  something  only  a   professional  would  have”  (81)  but  was  fooled  multiple  times  over  his  career.  When  faced   with  the  famous  Patterson-­‐Gimlin  film  of  1967,  he  originally  claimed  it  was  a  man  in  a   gorilla  suit  but  later  changed  his  mind  to  believe  it  depicted  an  unknown  creature  (90).   Believers  and  hoaxers  both  have  the  same  mettle  on  the  matter  because  they  interact  with   the  same  stories.  It’s  been  a  fact  of  cryptozoology  and  other  paranormal  investigations  that   “they  have  no  uniform  standards  for  interpreting  the  evidence  they  gathered  and  no   organizing  goals  -­‐  other  than  proving  the  creature  real”  (88).  This  allows  for  wide  avenues   of  interpretation  of  evidence.     The  line  between  the  real  and  the  simulated  is  not  so  clear  because  the  fake  has   usurped  the  real.  Despite  the  lack  of  convincing  empirical  evidence,  Bigfoot  believers  seem   to  have  a  predetermined  idea  of  what  constitutes  an  authentic  encounter.  One  Finding   Bigfoot  believer  says,  “The  real  life  reports  are  much  different  from  the  terrifying  monster   stories  in  the  movies.  We’re  here  to  get  to  the  bottom  of  the  real  stories,  not  the  movie  


legends” (“Louisiana’s  Caddo  Critter”).  So  what  constitutes  a  ‘real’  Bigfoot  encounter?  For   them,  it’s  certainly  not  a  hoax  and  they  can  tell  the  difference.  The  Finding  Bigfoot  team   says,  “when  you’ve  been  examining  different  types  of  evidence  for  many  years,  it’s  usually   pretty  easy  to  tell  fake  evidence  from  real  evidence”  (“Real  vs  Fake”).  Their  claim  to  be  able   to  determine  a  hoax  is  based  on  their  exposure  to  encounters  from  the  archives  of  stories   that  they  claim  are  true  and  that  “by  necessity  you’re  an  expert  on  fake  evidence  as  much  as   you  are  on  real  evidence  because  usually  your  job  is  to  distinguish  the  two”  (“Real  vs   Fake”).  In  the  search  for  Bigfoot,  even  among  believers,  “what  counts...  is  not  the   authenticity  of  a  piece,  but  the  amazing  information  it  conveys”  (Eco  15),  and  sightings  are   analyzed  and  weighed  against  a  vacuum  of  evidence.       In  one  instance  two  boys  shot  a  video  of  a  Bigfoot  while  riding  an  ATV  through  the   woods.  The  believers  remarked  “It  does  seem  suspect  that  these  guys  were  randomly  out   shooting  a  video  on  an  ATV  when  they  got  this  image”  (“Two  Kids”).  In  other  instance,  the   story  seemed  to  clash  with  accepted  Bigfoot  behavior  as  well  as  display  the  narrative  flags   of  a  hoax.  “It  doesn’t  make  sense  that  this  thing  was  just  staring  and  they  shot  it  and...why   didn’t  they  shoot  it  finally  walking  away?”  (“Eye  Shine”)  one  believer  asks  as  two  glinting   eyes  stare  out  from  behind  a  tree  for  a  brief  moment  of  video.  Conversely,  in  one  episode,  a   man  claimed  a  Bigfoot  went  into  his  tool  shed,  and  he  was  able  to  catch  a  glimpse  as  it   watched  him  from  through  the  window.  The  group  was  quick  to  classify  it  as  authentic   because  they  claim  “Sasquatches  are  pretty  wary  of  us...[and]  usually  put  something   between  themselves  and  the  person  observing  them”  (“No  Neck”),  which  in  this  case  had   happened.    One  believer  questioned  the  whole  motivation  immediately,  saying  “It  doesn’t   make  sense  to  me  why  a  Bigfoot  would  expose  itself  just  to  check  out  some  power  tools”   (“No  Neck”),  but  accepted  its  veracity  regardless.  The  simulacra  exhibits  “a  precession  of   the  model...  [where]  the  models  come  first....”  (Baudillard  175).  The  simulated  idea  of  what   a  Bigfoot  is  informs  the  authenticity  of  the  encounter  and  not  the  opposite  way  around.  In  a   previous  example,  the  searchers  contend  that  a  Bigfoot  will  perform  the  “castle  and  moat”   (“No  Neck”)  maneuver,  a  statement  built  on  other  models  which  depict  Bigfoot  as  elusive   and  intelligent.  This,  unbeknownst  to  the  believers  themselves,  further  asserts  the  truth  of   Bigfoot’s  simulacra  nature,  as  both  hoaxers  and  believers  alike  are  contributing  to  the   simulation.     What  this  reveals  is  that  true  expertise  is  not  empirical  knowledge  but  a  sufficient   ingesting  and  categorizing  of  Bigfoot  stories  and  simulations,  many  time  which  contradict   or  overlap  one  another,  where  “facts  no  longer  have  any  trajectory  of  their  own,  they  arise   at  the  intersection  of  the  models”  (Baudillard  175),  that  is,  eyewitness  testimonies.  One   facet  of  simulacra  is  its  role  in  “mask[ing]  the  absence  of  a  basic  reality”  (170).  Hoaxers   must  eagerly  accept  the  reality  of  this  absence  in  order  to  perform  their  falsifications.  “To   simulate  is  to  feign  to  have  what  one  hasn’t”  (167),  and  thus  hoaxers  are  inevitably   revealing  the  fact  that  Bigfoot  evidence  (and  perhaps  even  the  figure)  is  absent.  Believers,   by  this  model,  then,  are  driven  by  “the  frantic  desire  for  the  Almost  Real  [which]  arises  only   as  a  neurotic  reaction  to  the  vacuum  of  memories,  [and]  the  Absolute  Fake  is  offspring  of   the  unhappy  awareness  of  a  present  without  depth”  (Eco  30-­‐31).  The  photographer   Edward  Curtis  had  similar  trepidations  when  he  came  across  a  Native  population  that  was   effectively  assimilating  into  dominant  culture  and  opposed  his  own  perceptions  of   ‘authentic’  Indians  as  based  on  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  mythos.  He  saw  “a  corrupted  Indian   America,  one  not  worth  photographing”  (Warren  365)  and  attempted  to  place  his  subjects  


in traditional  clothes  more  fitting  of  a  culture  stuck  in  the  past  and  what  myth  demanded.   Both  the  ‘vanishing  Indian’  and  his  spiritual  legacy,  Bigfoot  have  suffered  under  the  weight   of  costumes  and  simulations.     The  animosity  that  exists  between  hoaxers  and  honest  believers  is  another  sign  of   the  Bigfoot  simulacra.  While  “many  serious  Bigfoot  researchers  will  tell  you  they  didn't   take  Wallace  seriously  anyway,  and  his  shenanigans  did  nothing  to  impact  the  real  work   done  on  the  Bigfoot  phenomenon”  (Cryptid,  “Bigfoot  Debunked”),  believers  oppose  hoaxers   mainly  because  they  are  contaminating  the  pool  of  evidence  and  undermining  the   credibility  of  cryptozoology  as  a  whole.  Theirs  is  a  biological  pursuit,  however,  they  do  not   realize  that  Bigfoot  and  other  “the  notion[s]  of  a  ‘wild  man’  [have]  become  almost   exclusively  a  psychological  category  rather  than  an  anthropological  one”  (Buhs,  Life  and   Times  6)  thanks  to  the  role  of  myth  and  hoax  in  Bigfoot  lore.  Despite  this,  the  animosity   continues.  One  Finding  Bigfoot  team  member  states  “It’s  a  dangerous  business”  (“Two   Kids”)  to  hoax  believers.  After  being  faced  with  a  suspicious  story,  one  said  “It  does  seem   like  a  hoax...  Maybe  these  two  guys  think  that  because  we’re  ‘believers’  that  we’ll  believe   anything.  But  they  don’t  realize  how  skeptical  we  can  be  in  these  situations”  (“Two  Kids”).   What  drives  their  search  is  to  experience  or  find  evidence  of  some  authentic  interaction.       Bigfoot  sightings  and  simulations  are  rare  and  varied.  To  have  had  an  encounter   with  Bigfoot,  good  or  bad,  is  to  have  communed  uniquely  with  an  albeit  terrifying  part  of   the  wilderness,  “a  guide  for  those  who  wanted  only  to  retreat,  to  carve  a  space  where  their   authentic  selves  could  breathe”  (Buhs,  “Camping”  40).  The  act  of  encountering  Bigfoot  or   even  hoaxing  his  presence  is  a  way  for  the  individual  to  imprint  themselves  on  the   landscape  of  America  and  claim  interaction  with  the  last  vestige  of  a  dying  wilderness.   There’s  a  reason  most  hoax  articles,  videos,  and  internet  discussion  end  with  the  question   “What  do  you  think”  or  statement  “you  decide”  because  the  Bigfoot  mythos  exists  to  serve  a   purpose  for  the  common  American.  Bigfoot  has  been  “a  guide  for  middle-­‐class  Americans   looking  for  transcendence  amid  the  tackiness  of  a  plastic  society”  (Buhs,  “Camping”  40),  a   hyperreal  simulation  of  nature.       The  preceding  argument  does  not  rely  on  Bigfoot’s  existence.  “Like  a  deep-­‐sea  fish   that  cannot  be  brought  to  the  surface  without  collapsing”  (Buhs,  “Camping”  45),  however,  it   is  tantamount  that  a  biological  specimen  is  never  found.  If  a  simulacra  is  eclipsed  by  reality,   it  must  succumb  to  the  real  against  which  it  is  compared.  The  truth  of  Bigfoot  as  a   biological  body  of  knowledge  is  underwhelming  at  best:  a  series  of  blurry  photographs  and   footprint  casts,  perhaps  a  hair  sample  or  two.  If  a  real  Bigfoot  were  ever  captured,  the   world  of  myth  that  surrounds  him  would  have  to  submit  itself  to  facts  and  the  simulacra   would  crumble.  “Should  they  finally  prove  the  creature  exists,  professionals  would  then   come  in  and  take  over  the  field”  (Regal  88)  and  it  would  become  another  branch  of  biology.   Bigfoot  as  a  mortal  creature  would  become  vulnerable,  studied  and  captured.  That  final   vestige  of  mystery  that  exists  in  a  twenty-­‐first  century  American  wilderness  would  be   corrupted  by  man  and  Bigfoot  as  spiritual  guide  could  not  exist.  There  cannot  be  a  flesh-­‐ and-­‐blood  anomalous  primate  wandering  the  woods  of  an  America  which  “wants  to   establish  reassurance  through  Imitation”  (Eco  57),  but  we  cannot  stop  looking  for  him.   Because  he  is  made  of  stories  and  hoaxes,  he  must  continuously  be  replenished  by  both  in   order  to  survive.  As  one  scholar  explains,     Maybe  there  is  no  Bigfoot  walking  the  forests  of  the  American  Pacific   Northwest,  but  the  creature  is  still  real—it  is  part  of  the  American  cultural  


landscape, something  about  which  people  can,  and  do,  talk,  something  that   most  everyone  recognizes  and  knows  (Buhs,  Life  and  Times  2).     Bigfoot  is  effective  in  his  role  as  a  simulacra  because  he  “lures  us  into  the  wilderness”   (Buhs,  “Camping”  44),  hoaxer  and  believer  alike,  and  exists  as  reassurance  of  there  existing   some  yet  untouched  refuge  of  wilderness  in  the  myth  of  a  creature  which  inherently  cannot   be  tamed  or  eliminated  by  human  expansion  and  destruction  because  it  is  a  simulation.  In   this,  as  long  as  Bigfoot  remains  elusive,  we  can  hope  for  some  purity  of  nature  to  remain   inaccessible  and  pure  in  the  American  landscape  as  well.  Boggy  Creek  II  ends  on  a   monologue  by  the  professor  over  images  of  that  swampy  landscape.  The  four  researchers   have  just  had  a  terrifying  though  brief  encounter  with  a  mother  Bigfoot  in  a  backcountry   cabin.  The  professor  states,  “What  I  saw...I  wanted  to  keep  to  myself.  It  wasn’t  really  a   matter  of  whether  anyone  would  believe  me  or  not...it  was  a  matter  of  keeping  him  a   mystery”  (Boggy  Creek)  as  the  four  ride  off  into  a  boat,  presumably  satisfied  with  their   encounter  and  ready  to  head  back  to  the  university.  He  continues,  “He’s  a  part  of  nature   living  in  harmony  in  one  of  America’s  last  great  wildernesses.  That’s  why  this  legend  will   continue;  for  I  feel  God  intended  it  that  way”  (Boggy  Creek).  It’s  a  sentimental  denouement,   but  it  reflects  the  crux  of  Bigfoot’s  existence,  not  that  he  lives  through  physical  reality  but   that  he  must  always  be  just  out  of  reach  in  order  to  perform  his  duty  as  a  spiritual  guide   and  guardian  of  a  wild  past.              


Works Cited     Animal  Planet.  “Finding  Bigfoot  -­‐  Real  vs  Fake  Evidence.”  Online  video  clip.  Youtube.   Youtube,  10  June  2011.  Web.  6  Dec.  2015.   Baudrillard,  Jean.  Selected  Writings.  Ed.  Mark  Poster.  Stanford  University  Press,  2004.  Web.     “Bigfoot  Eye  Shine  in  Creepy  Kentucky  Woods.”  Online  video  clip.  Finding  Bigfoot.  Animal   Planet,  n.d.  Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   Boggy  Creek  II:  And  the  Legend  Continues.  Dir.  Charles  B.  Pierce.  Perf.  Charles  B.  Pierce,   Cindy  Butler,  Chuck  Pierce  Jr.  Howco,  1985.  Web.     Buhs,  Joshua  Blu.  Bigfoot:  The  Life  and  Times  of  a  Legend.  Chicago:  The  University  of   Chicago  Press,  2009.  Web.   Buhs,  Joshua  Blu.  “Camping  wit  Bigfoot:  Sasquatch  and  the  Varieties  of  Middle-­‐Class   Resistance  to  Consumer  Culture  in  Late  Twentieth-­‐Century  North  America.”  The   Journal  of  Popular  Culture,  46.1  (2013):  38-­‐58.  Web.   Clark,  Doug.  “Bigfoot  role  was  big  fun  for  pranksters.”  The  Spokesman-­‐Review  [Spokane,   WA]  5  Aug.  2004.  Web.   Cryptid.  “Bigfoot  Facts  and  Theories  for  Skeptics.”  Hubpages.  Hubpages,  17  Dec.  2015.  Web.   24  Nov.  2015.     Cryptid.  “Why  Bigfoot  is  Fake:  Bigfoot  Debunked!”  Hubpages.  Hubpages,  16  Dec.  2015.   Web.  24  Nov.  2015.     Dockett,  Eric.  “If  Bigfoot  is  Real  Where  are  the  Bones?”  Hubpages.  Hubpages,  12  Apr.  2015.   Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   Dockett,  Eric.  “Top  5  Bigfoot  Theories:  What  is  Bigfoot  Really?”  Hubpages.  Hubpages,  12   Apr.  2015.  Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   Eco,  Umberto.  “Travels  in  Hyperreality.”  Travels  in  Hyperreality.  Trans.  William  Weaver.   San  Diego:  Harcourt  Brace  &  Company,  1986.  Web.     “Experts  Search  for  Elusive,  Trespassing  Figure  with  ‘No  Neck’.”  Online  video  clip.  Finding   Bigfoot.  Animal  Planet,  n.d.  Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   “From  the  Spooky  Bayous  Comes  a  Report  of  a  Female  Sasquatch.”  Online  video  clip.   Finding  Bigfoot.  Animal  Planet,  n.d.  Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   Ledbetter,  Sheri.  “This  Haunted  World.”  Blogs.Chapman.  The  University  of  Chapman,  13   Oct.     2015.  Web.  6  Dec.  2015.     Martelle,  Scott.  “Ray  Wallace,  84;  Took  Bigfoot  Secret  to  Grave  -­‐-­‐  Now  His  Kids  Spill  It.”  Los   Angeles  Times,  6  Dec.  2002.  Web.     “Meet  the  Inspiration  Behind  One  of  the  First  Bigfoot  Movies:  Louisiana’s  Caddo  Critter.”   Online  video  clip.  Finding  Bigfoot.  Animal  Planet,  n.d.  Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   “Native  American  Bigfoot  Figures  of  Myth  and  Legend.”  Native  Languages  of  the  Americas   Website.  Native  Languages  of  the  Americas,  n.d.  Web.  6  Dec.  2015.   Regal,  Brian.  “Entering  Dubious  Realms:  Grover  Krantz,  Science,  and  Sasquatch.”  Annals  of   Science,  66.1  (2009):  83-­‐102.  Web.   “Two  Kids,  A  Camera,  and  a  Bigfoot.”  Online  video  clip.  Finding  Bigfoot.  Animal  Planet,  n.d.   Web.  24  Nov.  2015.   Warren,  Louis  S.  “Vanishing  Point:  Images  of  Indians  and  Ideas  of  American  History.”   Ethnohistory,  46.2  (1999):  361-­‐372.  Web.        


El Camino  de  Santiago  and  the  American  Frontier:     Historical  Roots  and  Contemporary  Significance     Annie  McAuliffe  ‘16        

In a  country  which  has  been  largely  driven  by  the  mission  of  manifest  destiny,  the   frontier  comprises  a  great  portion  of  both  national  history  and  identity.  Romanticized  as   wild,  untamed,  and  free,  the  narrative  legacy  of  the  frontier  has  been  firmly  established  in   the  American  subconscious.  While  it  occupies  a  large  portion  of  American  identity,  that   legacy  is  one  of  extreme  exclusivity.  Its  literary  history  is  dominated  by  men  who  must   constantly  battle  a  wilderness  in  order  to  tame  it  to  suit  their  desires,  giving  rise  to  an   association  with  male  conquest  of  a  feminized  landscape.  The  identity  of  the  American   frontiersman  is  then  limited  to  that  of  a  white  man  with  the  physical  capability  to  bend   nature  to  his  will.  He  is  a  rugged,  isolated,  survivalist  whose  destiny  is  to  conquer  his   surroundings,  and  he  is  well  equipped  with  the  physicality  and  outdoor  expertise  to   accomplish  this  mission.       For  the  modern  American  who  may  very  well  not  fit  this  description,  such  “wild”   spaces  present  a  rather  intimidating  front.  Though  the  United  States  offers  a  great  variety   of  outdoor  activities,  these  activities  frequently  echo  the  frontier  ethos  of  conquest  and   thrill-­‐seeking  that  has  been  ingrained  into  the  American  identity:  hiking  the  tallest   mountains  to  take  a  picture  at  the  top,  white  water  rafting  through  the  choppiest  rapids,   bridge  jumping  into  a  canyon,  and  zip-­‐lining  through  woods  as  fast  as  possible,  etc.  Very   few  outdoor  experiences  are  marketed  as  a  means  of  self-­‐reflection  and  improvement,  but   rather  as  trophies  to  display  one’s  fearlessness  or  athleticism.       Given  Americans’  tendency  to  both  romanticize  the  exclusive  frontier  experience   and  frame  the  outdoors  in  terms  of  conquest,  it  is  interesting  to  note  that  a  significant   number  of  U.S.  citizens  choose  to  make  pilgrimage  on  the  Camino  de  Santiago  each  year;   with  2013  statistics  demonstrating  that  the  U.S.  ranks  5th  in  the  world  in  number  of   pilgrims  (Oficina  de  Acogida  al  Peregrino).  The  Camino  de  Santiago,  or  “Way  of  Saint   James”,  is  a  five-­‐hundred  mile  pilgrimage  route  which  starts  in  Saint-­‐Jean-­‐Pied-­‐de-­‐Port,   France  and  ends  at  the  Cathedral  of  Saint  James  in  Santiago  de  Compostela,  Spain,  where   the  remains  of  James  the  Apostle  of  Jesus  Christ  are  believed  to  be  interned.  Many  pilgrims   venture  on  from  there  to  the  coast  of  Spain  which  the  Romans  named  “Finisterre”,  the  end   of  the  Earth.  Verified  and  promoted  by  the  Catholic  Church  since  the  ninth  century,  The   Camino’s  roots  are  indisputably  religious,  yet  modern  pilgrims  proclaim  adherence  to  a   multitude  of  faiths,  and  some  none  at  all.       While  a  five-­‐hundred  mile  trek  is  undoubtedly  quite  a  physical  endeavor,  the   physical  trail  is  far  from  being  one  of  the  most  athletically  demanding  in  the  world.  Tiny   settlements,  small  towns,  and  large  cities,  each  equipped  with  hostels,  restaurants,  and   outdoor  goods  stores  designed  to  cater  to  pilgrims  abound  on  the  route;  meaning  that   pilgrims  need  not  be  camping  or  survival  experts  who  carry  all  necessary  items  in  their   backpacks  at  all  times.  They  simply  need  to  be  able  to  walk;  and  if  doing  so  is  not  an  option  


pilgrims may  opt  to  complete  the  route  on  a  bike,  on  horseback,  or  even  a  wheelchair.   Rather  than  a  thrill-­‐packed  adventure  to  conquer,  The  Camino’s  religious  and  meditative   tradition  offers  an  opportunity  for  an  internal  transformation  to  take  place.  Its  appeal  for   Americans  then  lies  in  it’s  subversion  of  the  exclusive  and  adrenaline-­‐based  American   outdoor  narrative.  The  Camino’s  history  as  a  journey  to  world’s  end  offers  a  “frontier   experience”,  the  chance  to  be  present  in  an  untamed  outdoors  that  was  once  regarded  as   Earth’s  final  frontier,  which  is  open  to  all  regardless  of  age,  ability,  or  experience;  and  it’s   promise  of  transformation  attracts  any  and  all  who  feel  a  yearning  to  be  somehow  better,  a   much  larger  pool  than  those  who  are  purely  chasing  thrills.       While  anyone  can  be  a  pilgrim  on  the  Camino,  American  tradition  places  strict   limitations  on  who  can  be  a  “frontiersman”,  exploring  or  occupying  untamed  space.  Even   the  title  of  frontiersman  suggests  exclusivity  as  it  is  open  only  to  men.  In  her  book  The  Land   Before  Her,  Annette  Kolodny  spells  out  how  the  European  male  gaze  shaped  frontier   rhetoric  from  the  very  founding  of  the  American  colonies,  explaining:  “By  the  time   European  women  began  to  arrive  on  the  Atlantic  shores  of  what  is  now  the  United  States,   the  New  World  had  already  been  given  over  to  the  fantasies  of  men”  (Kolodny  3).  Her  work   abounds  with  examples  of  how  European  men  cast  the  American  frontier  in  the  form  of  a   feminine  space  destined  for  male  conquest,  pointing  to  a  1587  directive  from  London   investor  Richard  Hakluyt  to  Sir  Walter  Raleigh  (founder  of  the  Virginia  colony)  which  states   “If  you  preserve  only  a  little  longer  in  your  constancy,  your  bride  will  shortly  bring  forth   new  and  most  abundant  offspring,  such  as  will  delight  you  and  yours”  (Kolodny  3).  Further   examples  include  a  1616  statement  by  John  Smith  praising  the  then  unexplored  New   England  in  a  feminized  manner,  “her  treasures  hauing  yet  neuer  beene  opened,  nor  her   originalls  wasted,  consumed,  nor  abused”;  as  well  as  a  1725  poem  by  Roger  Wolcott   depicting  a  sailor  “pressing/  upon  the  virgin  stream  who  had  as  yet,/  Never  been  violated   with  a  ship”  (Kolodny  3).  Kolodny  makes  it  perfectly  clear  that  the  lens  through  which   Americans  view  the  frontier,  and  therefore  any  unsettled  space,  has  been  crafted  by   European  men  who  framed  such  landscapes  in  terms  of  a  virginal  female.  As  such,  that   space  is  therefore  destined  to  be  overpowered  by  a  man,  limiting  the  identity  of  the   conqueror  to  that  of  a  European  man.       In  an  1893  paper  titled  “The  Significance  of  the  Frontier  in  American  History”,   Frederick  Jackson  Turner  further  solidifies  the  American  frontier  identity  as  one  of   domination.  According  to  Turner,  the  presence  and  conquest  of  an  untamed  frontier  has   been  the  driving  force  of  American  history  to  that  point:  “The  existence  of  an  area  of  free   land,  its  continuous  recession,  and  the  advance  of  American  settlement  westward,  explain   American  development”  (Turner  1).  He  frequently  frames  American  encounters  with  the   outdoors  in  terms  of  struggle  and  ultimate  domination  on  the  part  of  the  American,  noting   that  westward  expansion  was  achieved  by  defeating  Native  American  tribes.  His  language   even  suggests  a  legacy  of  conquest,  using  such  phrases  as  “winning  a  wilderness”  as  well  as   statements  like  “Even  the  slavery  struggle…  occupies  its  important  place  in  American   history  because  of  its  relation  to  westward  expansion”  (Turner  2).  “Winning  a  wilderness”   suggests  that  the  wilderness  must  be  conquered  or  else  it  will  defeat  whatever  human   entity  is  present.  Linking  American  slavery  and  the  destruction  of  native  tribes  to  that   legacy  of  land  conquest  constructs  the  identity  of  the  conqueror  of  the  frontier  as  a  white   man,  and  a  white  man  only.    


Turner’s strongest  connection  between  American  identity  and  the  conquering  of  a   wild  frontier  arrives  when  he  describes  the  frontier  as  “the  line  of  most  rapid  and  effective   Americanization”  (Turner  2).  According  to  him,  it  is  this  wild  space  which  made  Americans   out  of  Europeans:  “It  finds  him  a  European  in  dress…  It  strips  off  the  garments  of   civilization  and  arrays  him  in  the  hunting  shirt  around  him…  Little  by  little  he  transforms   the  wilderness,  but  the  outcome  is  not  the  old  Europe…  here  is  a  new  product  that  is   American”  (Turner  2).  The  ability  to  transform  a  wilderness  becomes  what  separates   Americans  from  the  rest  of  the  westernized  world,  but  only  white  men  with  the  ability  to   survive  in  such  a  wilderness  can  achieve  this  standard.       By  stark  contrast,  The  Camino’s  frontier  is  open  to  all.  According  to  the  Oficina  de   Acogida  Al  Peregrino,  which  registers  all  pilgrims  upon  arrival  in  Santiago,  citizens  of  136   countries  made  pilgrimage  in  2013.  The  pilgrims  were  close  to  evenly  distributed  in  terms   of  gender,  made  up  of  54.6%  men  and  45.4%  women.  Only  28.31%  of  pilgrims  were  under   thirty  years  old,  as  the  majority  (56.19%)  fell  between  the  ages  of  thirty  and  sixty;  and   15.5%  were  even  over  the  age  of  sixty.  While  an  overwhelming  majority  (87.17%)   completed  their  pilgrimage  by  walking,  12.34%  opted  to  bike,  .45%  rode  a  horse  (977   people),  and  .03%  (66  people)  managed  to  complete  The  Camino  in  wheelchairs.  When   asked  for  their  motivations  for  making  pilgrimage,  54.56%  responded  with  “religious  and   other”,  39.97%  stated  “religious”,  and  5.47%  claimed  no  religious  reason  at  all.     This  broad  statistical  array  of  pilgrims  is  a  clear  illustration  of  The  Camino’s   inclusivity  of  all  who  feel  called  to  make  pilgrimage.  No  specific  religion,  level  of   athleticism,  or  outdoor  expertise  is  required.  Modern  technology  and  the  availability  of   internet  in  hostels  allows  pilgrims  to  record  their  journey  in  real  time,  uploading  journal   entries,  photos,  and  videos  to  daily  blogs.  Such  visual  evidence  further  demonstrates  the   diversity  of  The  Camino’s  pilgrims.  In  her  blog  titled  “My  Camino”,  Sue  Kenney,  a  frequent   pilgrim  who  leads  group  Camino  journeys  each  year,  includes  a  group  photo  of  herself  and   several  other  pilgrims;  most  of  whom  are  women  who  appear  to  be  over  the  age  of  fifty,   and  one  younger  man  (Figure  1).  Since  The  Camino’s  attraction  lies  not  in  its  physical   extremity,  or  the  promise  of  a  prize  to  win,  something  else  must  draw  such  a  wide  variety   of  people  to  its  paths.       Kenney’s  pilgrim  narrative  as  she  details  in  “My  Camino”  suggests  that  the  need  to   put  down  some  sort  of  burden  that  hinders  personal  growth  compels  many  to  embark  on   the  pilgrimage.  These  pilgrims  are  not  seeking  to  conquer  The  Camino,  but  rather  for  The   Camino  to  catalyze  an  internal  change  for  the  pilgrim’s  own  betterment.  In  a  section  titled   “‘Sorrow  Stones’  as  Camino  Intentions”,  Kenney  explains  her  practice  of  allowing  friends   and  family  to  entrust  her  with  intentions  before  each  pilgrimage  she  embarks  on.  Carrying   a  stone  for  each  intention,  “When  the  time  feels  right,  I  let  it  go  by  setting  it  back  down  on   the  path  as  a  way  to  give  it  over  to  the  Camino  with  the  confidence  and  trust  it  will  be   received”  (Kenney).  This  practice  has  been  Camino  tradition  for  centuries,  and  continues  to   represent  a  physical  manifestation  of  what  pilgrims  hope  to  gain  from  this  undertaking.   They  do  not  aspire  to  win  achievements  to  boast  of,  but  rather  to  improve  themselves  by   letting  go  of  whatever  is  holding  them  back  emotionally  or  spiritually  from  becoming  who   they  wish  to  be.  The  fact  that  The  Camino  includes  a  specific  physical  ritual  to  embody  such   a  desire  is  evidence  that  it  appeals  to  Americans  by  working  against  the  American   narrative,  which  lacks  such  a  transformative  outdoor  experience  and  instead  focuses  on   conquests  to  be  won.    


Unlike the  formative  colonial  frontier  narratives  which  stamp  the  American   landscape  as  a  feminine  entity  that  a  European  man  is  entitled  to  dominate,  American   pilgrim  narratives  of  The  Camino  emphasize  the  road’s  capacity  to  act  on  the  pilgrim   instead  of  the  pilgrim  acting  on  it.  In  his  2011  film  The  Way,  director  Emilio  Estevez   examines  how  The  Camino  works  to  enact  a  transformation  in  Dr.  Tom  Avery,  an  American   optometrist  who’s  only  child,  Daniel,  is  killed  during  a  storm  while  walking  The  Camino.   Initially  traveling  to  the  starting  point  in  France  solely  to  bring  Daniel’s  body  home,  the   over-­‐sixty  year  old  Tom  makes  a  decision  overnight  to  have  Daniel  cremated  so  that  he   may  carry  the  ashes  to  Santiago  himself.       In  a  film  about  a  sixty-­‐plus  year  old  man  hiking  five  hundred  miles,  what  is   noticeably  absent  is  any  focus  on  physical  suffering.  Nowhere  does  Tom  complain  about   exhaustion,  aching  muscles,  or  blistered  feet.  Quite  the  contrary,  for  most  of  the  first  half  of   the  film  he  is  constantly  pushing  ahead  of  the  three  companions  he  unwillingly  picks  up   along  the  way.  The  fact  that  the  physical  obstacles  the  trail  presents  don’t  factor  into  the   story  Estevez  wishes  to  tell  indicates  that    The  Camino  holds  much  greater  significance   than  just  the  physical.  Before  Tom  takes  his  first  steps  on  the  road  with  Daniel’s  ashes  and   backpack,  it  is  abundantly  clear  that  The  Camino  is  a  journey  meant  for  introspection.   Stopping  Tom  before  he  leaves  Saint-­‐Jean-­‐Pied-­‐de-­‐Port,  the  local  police  captain  gives  him  a   stone  to  carry  and  put  down  at  Cruz  de  Ferro,  a  popular  shrine  on  The  Camino  for  pilgrims   to  leave  their  stones.  He  then  asks  Tom  why  he  is  walking  The  Way,  and  Tom  responds,  “I   suppose  I’m  doing  it  for  Daniel”  (The  Way).  “No”  firmly  states  the  officer,  a  veteran  of  two   Caminos  of  his  own,  “You  walk  The  Way  for  yourself,  only  for  yourself”  (The  Way).  From   the  very  beginning,  Estevez  makes  it  clear  that  The  Camino  itself  is  a  force  that  will  have  a   transformational  effect  on  Tom,  and  not  the  other  way  around.       Indeed,  each  of  Tom’s  companions  is  hoping  that  The  Camino  will  change  them  in   some  way.  In  Saint-­‐Jean-­‐Pied-­‐de-­‐Port  he  meets  Joost,  a  Dutchman  seeking  to  lose  weight  so   as  to  be  able  to  wear  his  suit  at  his  brother’s  upcoming  wedding,  as  well  as  to  make  his  wife   desire  him  again.  In  a  hostel  a  few  days  into  the  journey,  Sarah  joins  the  party.  A  Canadian   who  claims  that  upon  reaching  Santiago  she  will  quit  smoking,  she  is  actually  running  away   from  a  past  that  includes  a  physically  abusive  ex-­‐husband  and  a  pregnancy  which  she   terminated  solely  because  she  “didn’t  want  the  son  of  a  bitch  to  have  two  of  us  to  beat  up”   (The  Way).  Rounding  out  the  party  is  Jack  from  Ireland,  a  writer  who  once  held  the  dream   of  being  regarded  as  the  greatest  Irish  novelist  since  Joyce,  he  feels  himself  to  be  a  fraud  for   having  only  written  superficial  pieces  for  travel  magazines  and  receiving  hefty  paydays  for   them.  His  hope  is  that  The  Camino  will  get  him  over  his  writer’s  block  and  inspire  his  first   novel.  None  of  the  party  claims  to  have  any  background  in  camping,  hiking,  or  any  other   form  of  outdoor  recreation;  nor  do  they  mention  any  sort  of  particularly  religious   motivation.  Each  one  is  seeking  to  shed  some  form  of  burden,  and  The  Camino’s  long   tradition  of  acting  as  an  aid  in  this  process  draws  them  from  different  corners  of  the  globe;   quite  the  opposite  of  the  rhetoric  of  the  American  frontier,  which  limits  outdoor  space  as   reserved  for  a  white,  male,  American  conqueror.       The  film’s  characters  frequently  speak  of  The  Camino  with  an  extreme  reverence,  as   though  it  is  an  almost  living  force  in  and  of  itself,  quite  unlike  the  manner  in  which   frontiersman  speak  of  the  American  landscape  as  an  object  that  is  there  for  the  taking.  The   French  police  captain  initially  warns  Tom  that  “People  have  walked  the  path  for  over  a   thousand  years,  The  Way  is  a  very  personal  journey”  (The  Way).  Tom  initially  refuses  to  


reveal to  the  others  with  whom  he  is  traveling  why  he  is  making  this  pilgrimage,  with  the   exception  of  Joost,  who  finds  out  by  mistake.  When  Joost  comments  to  Jack  that  it  almost   seems  as  though  Tom  ended  up  on  The  Camino  “by  accident”,  Jack  insists  that  “If  I  know   one  certainty  about  The  Way  of  Saint  James,  it  is  that  no  one  walks  this  Camino  by  accident”   (The  Way).  Such  language  gives  the  impression  that  The  Camino  has  a  way  of  actively   drawing  people  to  it,  and  suggests  that  Estevez’s  intent  is  for  The  Camino  itself  to  function   as  one  of  the  film’s  characters.  It  is  far  from  being  an  object  which  can  be  possessed,  it  is   alive  and  busily  working  within  each  pilgrim.       Little  by  little,  The  Camino  does  work  a  change  in  each  character.  While  the  others   remain  ignorant  of  Tom’s  loss,  he  makes  every  attempt  to  break  away  from  them  and  walk   the  path  alone,  constantly  pushing  ahead  and  often  refusing  to  speak.  When  he  finds  out   that  Joost  has  told  the  others  about  his  son,  he  drinks  too  much  at  their  next  stop,  insults   each  of  their  motivations  for  walking,  and  causes  such  a  scene  that  the  local  Spanish   authorities  place  him  in  a  holding  facility  overnight.  Rather  than  pressing  on  without  him,   Joost,  Sarah,  and  Jack  pay  his  bail.  From  that  point,  Tom  does  not  attempt  to  leave  them   behind  anymore.  Instead,  he  speaks  more  often  and  more  openly,  even  answering  when   Jack  asks  about  Daniel;  “Smart,  confident,  stubborn,  pissed  me  off  a  lot.  A  lot  like  you”  (The   Way).  While  walking  the  path  with  the  others,  Tom  finds  it  easier  to  speak  about  his  son,   and  the  audience  witnesses  him  enjoying  himself  for  the  first  time  in  the  film.      Immediately  after  receiving  news  of  Daniel’s  death,  Tom  makes  funeral   arrangements  at  his  local  Catholic  parish,  despite  his  insistence  that  while  he  was  baptized   Catholic,  he  is  no  longer  religious.  It  appears  as  though  he  is  merely  performing  this  duty   out  of  a  feeling  of  obligation  towards  tradition.  When  the  priest  asks  Tom  if  he  would  like  to   pray  together,  Tom  bitterly  replies  “What  for”.  His  experience  as  a  pilgrim  greatly  alters  his   temperament  in  this  regard  as  well.  An  American  priest  whom  Tom  bumps  into  on  The   Camino  insists  on  giving  him  a  rosary  despite  Tom’s  protestations,  and  when  Tom  sees  this   priest  again  after  several  weeks  of  walking  (and  after  his  drunken  incident),  he  takes  the   rosary  from  his  pocket  and  says  “It  came  in  handy”;  this  all  despite  the  fact  that  Tom   continues  to  insist  “Religion  has  nothing  to  do  with  this.  Nothing  at  all”  (The  Way).  It  seems   as  though  Tom  begins  his  journey  having  no  faith  in  anyone  or  anything,  yet  walking  The   Camino  with  the  companions  he  acquires  restores  some  of  that  faith  (though  not   necessarily  religious  faith);  certainly  a  great  internal  transformation.       The  group’s  arrivals  at  the  Cathedral  of  Santiago  as  well  as  the  Atlantic  coast  at   Finisterre  are  most  indicative  of  their  internal  transformations.  While  Tom,  Sarah,  and   Joost  explore  several  of  the  churches  littered  along  The  Camino,  Jack  refuses  to  enter  any  of   them;  gravely  referencing  the  Catholic  sexual  abuse  scandal  in  Ireland:  “The  Church  has  a   lot  to  answer  for  where  I’m  from  Tom,  temples  of  tears,  I  don’t  go  in  them  anymore”  (The   Way).  Upon  reaching  the  Cathedral  of  Santiago,  Jack  enters  a  church  for  the  first  time  in  an   unknown  number  of  years,  and  Estevez  includes  a  shot  of  him  kneeling  and  crying  before  a   statue  of  the  Blessed  Virgin  Mary.  When  confronted  with  the  ocean  at  Finisterre,  Sarah   lights  a  cigarette  despite  her  vow  to  quit,  and  simply  states  “It  was  never  about  quitting   these  things.  But  you  knew  that”  (The  Way).  Joost,  having  lost  no  weight,  contentedly   declares  “I  needed  a  new  suit  anyway”,  and  Tom  scatters  Daniel’s  ashes  amongst  the  rocks   and  into  the  sea.  None  of  them  has  accomplished  anything  that  can  be  physically  quantified,   nor  obtained  some  sort  of  material  reward  to  bring  back  home  and  display  as  the  American   ethos  suggests  the  outdoors  is  for.  Rather,  they  reach  this  unsettled  frontier  and  


acknowledge the  burdens  they  are  putting  down,  then  walk  away  with  those  burdens  not   weighing  so  heavily  anymore.       Perhaps  The  Camino  lends  itself  so  well  to  such  transformational  pilgrim  narratives   (instead  of  the  conquest  narratives  that  the  American  frontier  bears)  because  of  its  own   legacy  of  transformation.  History  demonstrates  that  like  the  pilgrims  who  embark  on  it,   The  Camino  carries  a  great  burden.  In  an  essay  titled  “Sobre  la  ideología  Reconquista:   realidades  y  tópicos”,  Manuel  González  Jiménez  notes  that  the  discovery  of  the  tomb  of   Santiago  in  the  ninth  century  arrived  at  a  rather  opportune  moment  for  the  Christian   kingdoms  of  Spain  (Jiménez  151,  my  translation).  Losing  battle  after  battle  to  the  Muslim   Moorish  kingdom  which  ruled  the  Southern  half  of  the  Iberian  Peninsula,  the  Christian   monarchs  of  the  North  were  desperately  seeking  a  unifying  force  for  their  armies.  The   presence  of  the  remains  of  the  Apostle  credited  with  bringing  Christianity  to  the  peninsula   became  that  rallying  cry  for  the  Christian  armies,  a  sign  from  God  that  they  had  been   entrusted  with  a  divine  mission  to  drive  the  Islamist  infidels  off  the  Iberian  Peninsula   entirely.  Jiménez  leaves  no  room  for  doubt  that  the  discovery  of  Santiago’s  remains  was  a   determining  factor  in  the  ultimate  Christian  victory  over  the  Moors,  stating  that  “it  is   without  a  doubt  that  the  cult  of  Santiago  was  a  powerful  galvanizing  force  in  the  Christian   military  resistance  of  Islam”  (Jiménez  151,  my  translation).     Conveniently  ignoring  that  the  biblical  Saint  James  was  a  fisherman,  not  a  soldier,   the  Christian  monarchs  designated  the  saint  his  own  cross,  which  has  the  appearance  of  a   sword  and  is  the  color  of  blood  (see  Figure  2).  Affectionately  dubbing  him  “Santiago   Matamoros”,  Santiago  the  Moorslayer,  King  Ramirez  of  Castile  claimed  to  have  had  a  vision   of  Santiago  the  night  before  the  legendary  844  Battle  of  Clavijo  in  which  he  was  promised  a   Christian  victory.  During  the  battle,  soldiers  proclaimed  that  Santiago  appeared  on  a  white   horse  and  slaughtered  the  Muslim  foe.  This  image  of  Spain’s  patron  saint  has  persisted   through  the  centuries;  and  the  Cathedral  of  Santiago  houses  a  disturbingly  haunting  statue   of  a  European-­‐looking  Santiago  on  his  white  horse,  trampling  the  bloodied  bodies  of   African  Muslims  beneath  him  (see  Figure  3).       Santiago’s  purported  enmity  towards  Muslims,  and  all  non-­‐Christians,  became   justification  for  the  fifteenth  century  establishment  of  the  Spanish  Inquisition:  the  Catholic   body  in  Spain  which  sought  to  enforce  religious  uniformity  through  the  forced  conversion,   expulsion,  incarceration,  torture,  and  genocide  of  Spain’s  Muslims  and  Jews  (Jiménez  158,   my  translation).  The  influence  of  the  saint  greatly  jumpstarted  the  Christian  “Reconquista”   of  Spain,  which  was  completed  in  1492  with  King  Ferdinand  and  Queen  Isabella’s  taking  of   Granada;  empowering  them  with  the  riches  to  fund  Columbus’s  expedition  to  America,   thereby  beginning  an  entirely  new  legacy  of  conquest  and  destruction.       The  Camino’s  burden  is  indeed  quite  a  heavy  one,  and  the  Spanish  Catholic  Church  is   to  this  day  still  trying  the  reconcile  this  legacy  with  the  message  of  peace  and  internal   betterment  that  the  modern  Camino  professes.  The  famous  statue  of  Santiago  Matamoros  is   often  surrounded  by  flowers  or  hung  with  curtains  around  the  bottom  to  conceal  the  image   of  the  dead  Muslims.  The  history  of  conquest  and  domination  of  peoples  by  white  European   men  is  strikingly  similar  to  the  narrative  the  American  colonists  projected  onto  the   American  frontier.  What  has  allowed  The  Camino  to  transform  itself  is  its  continued  use  as   a  journey  of  self  meditation  and  improvement  over  the  centuries.  Perhaps  it  is  so  appealing   to  those  seeking  a  transformative  experience  because  Camino  culture  recognizes  the  need   for  the  trail  itself  to  continuously  transform  its  significance.  Ultimately,  the  connections  


that modern  pilgrims  make  with  others  who  are  radically  different  from  themselves   fundamentally  work  to  combat  a  history  of  violence  by  replacing  hate  with  understanding.   As  two  American  pilgrims  blogging  under  the  pseudonyms  “Dr.  K”  and  “Miss  Ly”  observe,   an  important  Camino  saying  (painted  onto  many  kilometer  markers  along  the  route)  is  “If   all  the  world  leaders  would  walk  The  Camino  we  would  have  peace”  (Dr.  K  and  Miss  Ly).       Though  the  American  frontier  and  The  Camino  are  rooted  in  the  same  legacies  of   conquest  and  domination,  they  have  greatly  diverged  from  one  another  in  narrative  form.   While  American  outdoor  experiences  are  marketed  towards  thrill  seekers  wanting  to   conquer  the  next  challenge,  thereby  dominating  a  “new  frontier”,  The  Camino’s  narrative   and  cultural  imprint  is  one  of  a  journey  towards  a  better  self  that  involves  building   relationships  with  others  of  different  backgrounds.  Estevez’s  The  Way  as  well  as  the  blogs   of  American  pilgrims  are  modern  cultural  examples  of  how  the  The  Camino’s  great  appeal   to  Americans  lies  in  the  manner  in  which  its  discourse  differs  from  the  rhetoric  of  the   American  frontier;  even  though  the  two  share  similarly  violent  histories.  While  America   sees  the  outdoors  through  the  lens  of  a  frontiersman  who  can  only  be  a  specific  type  of   person  (a  physically  fit,  white,  male,  outdoor  survivalist),  Camino  narratives  are  extremely   inclusive  as  they  are  open  to  all  who  wish  to  be  better  than  they  currently  are.                             Figure 1   Figure  1                      


Figure 2                

 

      Figure 3

Figure  3  

     


Works Cited   Dr.  K,  and  Miss  Ly.  “What  the  Camino  Has  Taught  Me."  Web  blog  post.  A  Camino  De   Santiago  Pilgrimage.  N.p.,  21  July  2014.  Web.  18  Oct.  2015.   <http://healingtheeye.com/camino/burning-­‐our-­‐boots-­‐at-­‐finisterra/>.   Figure  1.  Digital  image.  My  Camino.  Sue  Kenney,  3  June  2015.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   <http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/2015/06/stones-­‐as-­‐camino-­‐ intentions.html>.   Galician  Flag.  Figure  2.  Digital  image.  Galician  Christian  Crosses.  N.p.,  n.d.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   <http://www.galicianflag.com/saint_james_cross.htm>.   Jiménez,  Manuel  Gonzalez.  "Sobre  La  Ideología  De  La  Reconquista:  Realidades  Y  Tópicos."   Memoria,  Mito  Y  Realidad  En  La  Historia  Medieval  :  XIII  (2003):  151-­‐70.  Universidad   De  Sevilla,  2003.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   <https://idus.us.es/xmlui/handle/11441/18144>.   Kenney,  Sue.  "'Sorrow  Stones'  as  Camino  Intentions."  Web  log  post.  My  Camino.  N.p.,  3  June   2015.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   <http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/2015/06/stones-­‐as-­‐camino-­‐ intentions.html>.   Kolodny,  Annette.  The  Land  before  Her:  Fantasy  and  Experience  of  the  American  Frontiers,   1630-­‐1860.  Chapel  Hill:  U  of  North  Carolina,  1984.  Print.   Oficina  De  Acogida  Al  Peregrino.  "Informe  Del  Año  2013."  Peregrinos  a  Santiago.   Archdiocese     of  Santiago  De  Compostela,  2013.  Web.  17  Dec.  2015.   <http://peregrinossantiago.es/esp/oficina-­‐del-­‐peregrino/estadisticas/>.   The  Way.  Dir.  Emilio  Estevez.  Perf.  Martin  Sheen.  Elixir  Films,  2011.  Netflix.  Web.  17  Dec.   2015.   Turner,  Frederick  Jackson.  "The  Significance  of  the  Frontier  in  American  History."  (1893):   n.  pag.  National  Humanities  Center.  Web.  18  Dec.  2015.   <http://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/pds/gilded/empire/text1/turner.pdf>   Quinn,  George.  Figure  3.  Digital  image.  Walk  Ten  Thousand  Miles.  N.p.,  18  Sept.  2011.  Web.   17  Dec.  2015.  <http://walktenthousandmiles.net/2011/09/18/santiago-­‐ matamoros-­‐food-­‐for-­‐thought-­‐from-­‐the-­‐camino-­‐pilgrimage/>.  


“O What  a  Goodly  Outside  Falsehood  Hath!”:     Antonio’s  Manipulation  in  The  Merchant  of  Venice     Clarice  Pranger  ‘17        

F illed     with  plot  points  and  character  arcs  which  at  best  can  be  described  as   problematic,  The  Merchant  of  Venice  skirts  the  edge  of—if  not  outright  crosses  the  border   into—offensive  and  seditious  territory.  The  relationship  of  Antonio  and  Bassanio  especially   deserves  consideration,  for  as  an  uneasy  commingling  of  friendship  and  romance,  it  is   difficult  to  portray  without  gaining  the  censure  (rather  than  the  sympathy)  of  at  least  a  few   audience  members.  There  is,  however,  a  darker  subplot  to  their  homoerotic  relationship.   The  motivations  of  Bassanio  have  already  been  called  into  question  by  some  scholars  as   being  disingenuous,  driven  more  by  avarice  than  a  true  reverence  for  the  deep  bond   Antonio  wishes  them  to  share—but  darkest  of  all  may  be  the  motivations  which  govern   Antonio.   As  the  action  of  the  play  moves  forward,  Antonio  is  transformed  from  a  seemingly   upstanding  Christian  who  is  hopelessly,  innocently  in  love  with  his  friend,  to  prove  himself   a  skillful  manipulator  of  those  around  him  in  Venetian  society.  Using  his  position  as  a   wealthy  merchant,  Antonio  works  to  buy  and  secure  favors  and  friendship,  especially  from   Bassanio,  for  whom  he  harbors  not  just  love,  but  a  borderline  obsession.  To  secure  his   place  as  a  good  Christian  and  in  an  attempt  to  differentiate  usury  from  his  own  dealings   with  money,  Antonio  openly  reviles  Shylock’s  Jewishness  and  morally  reprehensible   practice  of  usury.  And,  finally,  to  cement  his  good  Christian  status,  offers  himself,  Jesus-­‐like,   for  sacrifice  so  that  Bassanio  may  be  happy  with  Portia,  and  to  complete  his  self-­‐interested   crusade  against  Shylock.     Part  One:  The  Schemer  and  the  Jealous  Lover   A  lender  may  lawfully  expect  the  loue  and  good  will  of  the  borrower.   For  that  hath  he  iustly  deserued  by  his  kindnesse.   —Miles  Mosse,  The  Arraignment  and  Conviction  of  Vsurie  (Holmer)   The  play  opens  with  a  melancholic  Antonio  bemoaning  his  “sad”  state  to  two  friends,   Salarino  and  Solanio,  and  from  his  first  lines  Antonio  displays  his  willingness  to  employ   strategy  to  effect  a  certain  response:   In  sooth  I  know  not  why  I  am  so  sad.   It  wearies  me,  you  say  it  wearies  you;   But  how  I  caught  it,  found  it,  or  came  by  it,   What  stuff  ’tis  made  of,  whereof  it  is  born,   I  am  to  learn;   And  such  a  want-­‐wit  sadness  makes  of  me   That  I  have  much  ado  to  know  myself.  (TMOV  I.i.1-­‐7)   Antonio’s  use  of  slight  self-­‐deprecation—calling  himself  a  “want-­‐wit”  because  he  is  so   governed  by  this  emotion  whose  cause  is  seemingly  unknown  to  him—instantly  evokes  


pity from  his  friends.  They  reassure  him  his  seriousness  is  no  mystery,  but  stems  from   “[his]  argosies  with  portly  sail—  /  Like  signors  and  rich  burghers  on  the  flood”  (TMOV  I.i.9-­‐ 10).  The  good  standing  of  Antonio  is  immediately  established  by  his  friends,  who  seemingly   are  enthralled  by  Antonio’s  greatness,  for  they  describe  his  “venture  forth”  as  no  mere   ships  with  cargo,  but  large,  expensive  “argosies  with  portly  sail  [italics  mine],”  and  were   they  in  his  position,  they  would  be  in  worse  emotional  shape  than  he  (TMOV  I.i.15,  9).   Indeed,  as  they  later  talk  among  themselves,  Solanio  continues  to  heap  praise  on  him,   calling  him  “the  good  Antonio,  the  honest  Antonio”  and  wishing  he  “had  a  title  good  enough   to  keep  [Antonio’s]  name  company,”  even  after  hearing  one  of  Antonio’s  ships  was  lost  at   sea  (TMOV  III.i.12-­‐14).  It  seems  then,  Antonio’s  greatness  is  so  entrenched  among  his   Christian  friends  that  not  even  a  loss  to  his  fortune  can  detract  from  it.  With  the  entrance  of   Bassanio,  Solanio  elevates  Antonio  still  higher  by  labeling  him  “most  noble  [Bassanio’s]   kinsman,”  even  though  Bassanio  soon  after  reveals  himself  to  be  less  a  “noble  kinsman”  and   more  an  in  debt  playboy  gentleman  (TMOV  I.i.57).  Already  a  theme  of  appearance  at  a   dissonance  with  reality  is  established  with  both  Antonio  and  Bassanio,  and  does  not  bode   well  for  their  situation,  both  for  their  friendship  and  for  their  future  plan  to  borrow  money.     Once  they  are  alone,  Antonio  instantly  again  presses  his  advantage  of  good  standing,   but  this  time  with  Bassanio.  He  does  not  ask,  but  demands  Bassanio  fulfill  his  promise  to   reveal  his  “secret  pilgrimage”  to  Portia  (TMOV  I.i.120).  Antonio  assumes  his  right  to   information  because  he  has  lent  Bassanio  money  in  the  past,  and  thus  disregards  any  wish   to  privacy  his  friend  may  have.  Thus,  his  monetary  stake  in  Bassanio’s  affairs  allows  him  to   keep  abreast  of  the  courtship  process,  in  a  sense  to  keep  a  jealous  eye  on  how  it  is   progressing.  Faithful  to  his  promise,  however,  Bassanio  complies,  engaging  Antonio  still   further  with  his  monetary  needs:                                To  you,  Antonio,       I  owe  the  most  in  money  and  in  love,       And  from  your  love  I  have  a  warranty       To  unburden  all  my  plots  and  purposes       How  to  get  clear  of  all  the  debt  I  owe.  (TMOV  I.i.130-­‐134)   Yet  as  Bassanio  says  this—and  may  even  truly  be  grateful  for  the  money  he  has  received— there  is  “no  unequivocal  assertion  of  a  deeply  rooted  physical  and  spiritual  kinship,”  as   Steve  Patterson  terms  it  in  his  essay,  “The  Bankruptcy  of  Homoerotic  Amity  in   Shakespeare’s  Merchant  of  Venice”  (15).  Bassanio  does  not  seem  to  requite  to  the  same   extent  the  feelings  Antonio  has  for  him,  and  thus  Antonio  immediately  presses  him  again  to   “let  [him]  know”  how  he  can  help  clear  Bassanio  of  his  debts,  continuing  on  to  promise  him:       And  if  [that  method]  stand  as  you  yourself  still  do,       Within  the  eye  of  honor,  be  assured       My  purse,  my  person,  my  extremest  means       Lie  all  unlocked  to  your  occasions.  (TMOV  I.i.135-­‐139)   In  so  doing,  he  ensnares  Bassanio  in  debt  to  be  repaid  not  with  money,  but  with  gratitude   and  love.  The  obvious,  sexualized  double  meaning  that  Antonio’s  very  “person”  is  “all   unlocked  to  [Bassanio’s]  occasions,”  reveals  his  near  desperation  to  be  everything  to   Bassanio,  not  just  his  friend,  but  his  lover,  his  protector,  and  his  provider.     Yet  Antonio  cannot  be  as  straightforward  and  openly  lovelorn  as  the  Petrarchan   lover  who  courts  a  lady.  The  sadness  which  Solanio  and  Salarino  mistook  for  worries  over   his  merchant  investments,  and  thereby  proof  of  his  greatness,  is  nothing  more  than  the  


dejected state  of  a  lover  in  limbo.  Unable  to  fall  at  the  feet  of  his  beloved  and  unburden   himself  of  his  semi-­‐secret  desire,  Antonio  is  instead  forced  to  play  a  coy,  typically  feminine   role  in  a  roundabout  seduction  that  does  little  to  appease  his  passion  for  Bassanio.   Pretending  to  be  hurt  when  Bassanio  does  not  ask  for  yet  more  money  straightforwardly,   Antonio  accuses  him  of     Spend[ing]  but  time   To  wind  about  [his]  love  with  circumstance;   And  out  of  doubt  [that  he]  do[es  Antonio]  now  more  wrong   In  making  question  of  [his]  uttermost   Than  if  [Bassanio]  had  made  waste  of  all  [Antonio  had].  (TMOV  I.i.153-­‐154).   This  accusation  is  enough  to  prompt  an  explanation  from  Bassanio,  and  Antonio,  already   sworn  to  do  what  he  can,  resolves  the  matter  by  falling  back  on  yet  another  strategic  ploy:   to  literally  cash  in  on  the  reputation  he  has  built  with  other  Venetians.  Since  he  has  not  the   “commodity  /  To  raise  a  present  sum”  He  asks  Bassanio  to  “try  what  [his]  credit  can  in   Venice  do”  (TMOV  I.i.178-­‐179,  180).  His  credit  he  knows  is  good,  and  Antonio  hopes  it  will   furnish  enough  money  to  buy  the  love  of  Bassanio,  even  as  he  goes  to  court  a  woman.  For   his  love  for  Bassanio  is  so  great,  he  is  willing  to  employ  all  his  strategy  to  secure  Bassanio’s   love  in  return—even  though  the  form  of  lender  takes  one  hateful  to  the  Christians  of   Venice.     Part  Two:  The  Holy  Crusader?   Hee  that  expecteth  loue  cannot  bee  sayd  to  expect  gaine  from  lending.   —Miles  Mosse,  The  Arraignment  and  Conviction  of  Vsurie  (Holmer)     Antonio’s  ironically  un-­‐Christian  (at  least  to  modern  eyes)  hatred  of  Shylock  is   evident  as  soon  as  the  two  appear  together  in  scene  three  of  Act  One,  and  while  part  of  his   hatred  is  undoubtedly  anti-­‐Semitic,  it  manifests  itself  in  other  ways  as  well.  As  Bassanio   recites  the  terms  of  the  bond  and  states  that  Antonio  will  be  bound  for  it,  Shylock’s  reply  is   only  that  “Antonio  is  a  good  man”  (TMOV  I.iii.12).  His  line  may  be  delivered  with  derision  or   sarcasm,  for  it  prompts  Bassanio’s  immediate  rejoinder:  “Have  you  heard  any  imputation  to   the  contrary?”  (TMOV  I.iii.13-­‐14).  Bassanio,  impatient  to  hear  whether  Shylock  will  accept   the  terms  of  the  loan,  does  not  stop  to  think  that  Antonio’s  reputation  may  be  in  doubt,  for   he,  like  many  other  Christian  Venetians,  is  ensnared  in  the  web  Antonio  has  spun  to  make   himself  “loved  and  revered  by  all  the  Christians  who  know  him”  (Rosenshield  37).  But   Shylock  is  not  as  taken  in  by  Antonio’s  seeming  goodness  as  the  rest  of  Christian  Venice   seems  to  be.  Where  Antonio’s  friends  romanticized  his  merchant  ships  abroad,  Shylock   sees  those  ventures  as  “squandered”  and  foolhardy  (TMOV  I.iii.21).  Where  others  see   Antonio  as  a  great  man  upon  whom  praise  may  be  justly  bestowed,  Shylock  dubs  him   merely  “sufficient”  (TMOV  I.iii.17).  As  a  result,  Antonio  has  “rated  [Shylock]  /  About  [his]   moneys  and  [his]  usances,”  deeming  him  a  heathen  for  his  practice,  and  making  Shylock  an   outcast  among  outcasts  in  Venice  (TMOV  I.iii.104-­‐105).  For  not  only  is  he  a  Jew,  but  a  Jew   who  does  not  play  Antonio’s  manipulation  game,  choosing  instead  to  see  Antonio  as  he  is   rather  than  as  he  would  wish  to  be  seen.  As  Gary  Rosenshield  phrases  it:  “to  others,   Antonio  is  the  model  of  exemplary  Christian  love;  to  Shylock,  Antonio  is  a  symbol  of   Christian  hatred”  (39).     Although  Shylock  says  to  Antonio  that  he  bears  these  insults  with  “a  patient  shrug,”   earlier  in  the  scene  Shylock  has  already  vowed  revenge  in  an  aside,  hating  him  because,  in  


an attempt  to  be  a  good  Christian,  “[Antonio]  lends  out  money  gratis  and  brings  down  /  The   rate  of  usance  here…in  Venice”  (TMOV  I.iii.106,  41-­‐42).  Antonio  is  so  fixed  on  establishing   his  standing  as  a  true,  worthy  Christian  that  he  very  nearly  ignores  the  demands  of  his   other  epithet:  merchant.  In  his  mind,  the  Jewish  practice  of  usury  is  too  similar  to  his   dealings  as  a  merchant,  and  this  delicate  balance  of  differences,  however  arbitrary  those   differences  may  be,  throws  too  much  uncertainty  on  Antonio’s  attempts  to  secure  status   and  a  cult-­‐like  following  of  fellow  Christians  in  Venice.  Thus,  eager  to  create  a  gap  between   the  Christian  merchant  and  the  Jewish  usurer,  and  even  as  he  asks  Shylock  to  lend  money,   he  undercuts  him  yet  again,  remarking  (rather  ironically)  to  Bassanio  that:       The  devil  can  cite  Scripture  for  his  purpose.       An  evil  soul  producing  holy  witness       Is  like  a  villain  with  a  smiling  cheek,       A  goodly  apple  rotten  at  the  heart.       O  what  a  goodly  outside  falsehood  hath!  (TMOV  I.iii.95-­‐99)   Behind  his  veneer  of  upright  Christianity,  Antonio  reveals  his  hypocrisy  and  his  true,   scheming  nature,  for  in  a  rather  un-­‐Christian,  merciless  move,  he  is  bold  enough  to  say  to   Shylock  even  before  the  bond  is  agreed  to  that  he  is  “as  like  to  call  [him  a  dog]  again,  /  To   spit  on  [him]  again,”  for  he  cannot  appear  anything  less  than  condemning  of  usury  in  front   of  Bassanio,  yet  nor  can  he  renege  his  promise  of  aid  (TMOV  I.iii.127-­‐128).  This   dangerously  bold  condemnation  is  enough  to  provoke  to  a  rolling  boil  Shylock’s  already   simmering  hatred,  and  though  Antonio’s  censure  seems  to  separate  the  merchant  from  the   usurer,  his  un-­‐Christian  ownership  of  such  behavior  ensures  his  own  destruction.  Antonio   also  shows  his  hypocrisy  in  this  scene  by  stooping  even  to  ask  for  a  loan  from  one  who   practices  usury,  for  such  a  good  Christian  as  he  surely  would  not  think  to  engage  with  one   such  as  Shylock,  however  desperate  his  situation  may  be.  In  doing  so,  Antonio  betrays  his   real  reason  for  entering  into  a  bond  with  Shylock:  he  does  so  at  his  own  mortal  peril   because  those  “three  thousand  ducats”  are  for  Bassanio,  to  whom  Antonio  can  deny   nothing  (TMOV  I.iii.1).  Thus,  Bassanio  is  both  the  key  to  Antonio’s  happiness  and  the  seed   of  his  destruction,  for  while  he  obsesses  over  his  love  for  him  and  will  go  to  any  lengths  to   secure  it,  those  lengths  could  very  well  be  the  cause  of  his  death  and  the  ruination  of  his   good  standing  in  Venetian  society.     Antonio’s  un-­‐Christian  behavior  manifests  itself  most  strongly  after  Shylock  loses   his  daughter  to  the  Christian  Lorenzo.  Upon  being  asked  if  he  will  still  hold  Antonio  to  his   bond  in  the  wake  of  the  news  that  Antonio  has  lost  a  ship  at  sea,  Shylock  cries  that  “if  it  feed   nothing  else,  /  It  will  feed  [his]  revenge”  (TMOV  III.i.29-­‐30).  The  reminder  of  Antonio’s   horrendous  treatment,  and  that  no  other  Christian  in  Venice  sees  his  acts  as  reprehensible   enrages  the  already  distraught  Shylock.  He  spurns  the  idea  of  charitable,  forgiving   Christians  in  his  oft-­‐quoted  lines:   If  a  Christian  wrong  a  Jew,  what   Should  his  sufferance  be  by  Christian  example?  Why  re-­‐   venge!  The  villainy  you  teach  me  I  will  execute,  and  it   Shall  go  hard  but  I  will  better  the  instruction.  (TMOV  III.i.64-­‐67)   Antonio  is  so  focused  on  his  manipulation  of  Venetian  society  so  that  they  see  him  as  an   upstanding  figure  with  a  spotless  reputation,  that  his  blatantly  un-­‐Christian  behavior   infuriates  Shylock.  His  inability  to  reconcile  the  self-­‐righteous  anti-­‐Semite  with  the  moral   figure  all  other  Christians  see  drives  him  to  exact  his  bloody  revenge,  for  this  similar  


treatment, in  Shylock’s  mind,  is  only  fair.  Because  he  is  the  only  one  who  recognizes   Antonio’s  two-­‐faced  nature,  Antonio  hates  him  beyond  the  excuse  of  Shylock’s  being  Jewish   and  practicing  usury—Antonio  hates  him  because  Shylock  sees  who  he  really  is.  Shylock  is   a  walking  reminder  of  Antonio’s  duplicity,  and  that  no  matter  how  devout  a  Christian  he  is,   he  is  still  a  merchant,  and  still  connected  in  some  respect  to  usury.  Thus  the  holy  crusader   is  revealed,  if  only  to  Shylock,  to  be  a  self-­‐interested,  unprincipled  schemer  whose   Christianity  is  merely  a  means  to  an  end.     Part  Three:  A  Christ  Figure  of  Convenience   God  ordeyned  lending  for  maintenaunce  of  amitye,   and  declaration  of  love,  betwixt  man  and  man.   —Sir  Thomas  Wilson,  Discourse  Upon  Vsury   The  misfortune  of  Antonio  and  Bassanio’s  plans,  foretold  in  part  by  their  respective   tendencies  to  conceal  the  truth  of  their  situations,  comes  to  fruition  in  the  form,  quite   fittingly,  of  financial  disaster  and  mortal  peril.  As  Antonio  explains  in  his  letter  to  Bassanio:     Sweet  Bassanio,  my  ships  have  all     Miscarried,  my  creditors  grow  cruel,  my  estate  is  very     Low,  my  bond  to  the  Jew  is  forfeit.  And  since  in  paying     It,  it  is  impossible  I  should  live,  all  debts  are  cleared  be-­‐     tween  you  and  I  if  I  might  but  see  you  at  my  death  (TMOV  III.ii.315-­‐319).   Yet  even  in  the  face  of  this  desperate  situation,  Antonio  still  does  not  abandon  his  schemes.   Even  though  the  payment  of  the  bond  may  very  likely  cost  him  his  life,  Antonio  still   manages  to  turn  the  situation  to  his  reputation’s  advantage.  Depicting  himself  as  a  victim  of   fate  and  subject  to  the  cruelty  of  others,  Antonio  again  works  the  weaker  vessel  angle  in   hopes  of  garnering  sympathy.  Yet  while  his  ploy  has  the  desired  effect  of  bringing  Bassanio   back  to  Venice,  the  concern  uppermost  in  Bassanio’s  mind  is  the  speed  with  which  he  can   return  to  Portia,  assuring  her  that  “no  bed  shall  e’er  be  guilty  of  [his]  stay,  /  Nor  rest  be   interposer  ’twixt  [them]  twain”  (TMOV  III.ii.325-­‐326).  Though  he  goes  to  save  the  life  of  his   friend,  Bassanio  goes  with  more  than  a  little  unwillingness  to  leave  his  new  bride,  with   whom  he  has  not  even  been  able  to  consummate  their  union.  This  unwillingness  again   undercuts  the  relationship  which  Antonio  envisions  for  them.  Despite  all  of  Antonio’s   schemes,  all  of  his  careful  attention,  Bassanio’s  heart  does  not  completely  belong  to   Antonio—the  thrall  is  not  echoed  with  equal  fervor.  Antonio  may  sense  that  he  is   ultimately  “mak[ing]  bids  for  a  love  quarry  he  cannot  touch,”  and  this  is  one  of  the  foremost   reasons  for  his  last,  final  attempt,  his  ultimate  sacrifice  so  that  mere  semi-­‐requited  love   may  be  fully  realized  (Patterson  16).     This  misfortune  could  not,  however,  be  a  fitter  ending  for  Shylock,  who  will  not   listen  to  the  last-­‐minute  pleas  of  Antonio  and  his  friends.  Knowing  the  scheming  nature  of   Antonio,  he  states  fervently  that  he  will  “not  be  made  a  soft  and  dull-­‐eyed  fool”  who  will   “yield  /  To  Christian  intercessors”  (TMOV  III.iii.14,  15-­‐16).  Finally  catching  Antonio  in  an   agreement  from  which  he  cannot  back  down,  Shylock  shall  ensure  the  schemer  gets  his   comeuppance.  Yet  Antonio  uses  this  seemingly  hopeless  situation  again  to  his  advantage,   inventing  a  reason  for  Shylock’s  hatred  that  reinforces  his  good  Christian  standing:       I’ll  follow  him  no  more  with  bootless  prayers.       He  seeks  my  life.  His  reason  well  I  know:       I  oft  delivered  from  his  forfeitures  


Many that  have  at  times  made  moan  to  me.       Therefore  he  hates  me.  (TMOV  III.iii.20-­‐24)   This  explanation  contrasts  the  real  reason  Shylock  gives  for  his  hatred  of  Antonio  in  Act   One,  scene  three:  that  of  Antonio’s  tendency  to  shirk  his  responsibilities  as  a  merchant  by   lending  money  freely,  thereby  bringing  down  the  “rate  of  usance”  (TMOV  I.iii.42).  Thus,   Antonio  ascribes  himself  the  most  Christian  practice  of  coming  to  aid  those  in  need  at  the   expense  of  his  profession  and  twists  Shylock’s  hate  into  a  purely  personal,  anti-­‐Christian   vendetta,  while  Shylock’s  real  reason  focuses  not  only  on  Antonio’s  actions  against  him,  but   also  the  effect  such  seemingly  Christian  aid  has  on  the  economy  of  Venice.     Once  all  are  assembled  at  the  court,  Antonio  has  only  but  to  play  the  part  of  the  good   Christian  who  meekly  accepts  his  fate,  and  the  other  Christian  Venetians  are  renewed  in   their  commitment  to  his  cause.  Presiding  over  the  case,  the  Duke  is  introduced  in  Act  Four,   scene  one  as  already  sympathetic  to  Antonio’s  cause  before  the  hearing  begins,  saying  he  is   “sorry”  that  Antonio  must  “come  to  answer  /  A  stony  adversary…[who  is]  an  inhuman   wretch  /  Uncapable  of  pity,”  but  Antonio  is  quiet  and  consenting  in  the  face  of  death:         Since  [Shylock]  stands  obdurate,       And  that  no  lawful  means  can  carry  me       Out  of  his  envy’s  reach,  I  do  oppose       My  patience  to  his  fury,  and  am  armed       To  suffer  with  a  quietness  of  spirit       The  very  tyranny  and  rage  of  his.  (TMOV  IV.i.3-­‐5,  8-­‐13)   Gone  is  the  impassioned  lover  prone  to  fits  of  forlornness,  gone  is  the  merchant  seeking   profit  on  the  wide  seas—the  Antonio  present  before  the  court  is  humble,  meek,  and  mild.   He  fights  Jewish  fury  no  longer  with  public  displays  of  disgust,  but  calm  acceptance.  It  is  in   this  scene  that  Antonio  shows  his  true  skill  as  a  manipulator,  for  in  taking  a  Christian   stance  and  refusing  to  fight  for  himself,  he  allows  those  he  has  enthralled  to  fight  for  him,   and  the  more  who  are  drawn  to  his  side,  the  more  Shylock  looks  the  villain.  The  Duke  even   says  as  much  to  Shylock,  that  all  present  expect  a  “gentle  answer,”  that  is,  they  expect  the   Jewish  Shylock  to  suddenly  show  Christian  “mercy”  and  “pity”  on  Antonio  (TMOV  IV.i.34,  20,   27).  The  Christian  bias  in  the  court  is  so  strong  that  even  though  Shylock  responds  that  he   has  “by  [the  Jewish]  holy  Sabaoth…sworn  /  To  have  the  due  and  forfeit  of  [his]  bond,”  this   religious  promise  is  not  enough  of  a  reason  to  satisfy  the  Christians  (TMOV  IV.i.36-­‐37).  If  it   were  a  Christian  promise  that  Shylock  had  made,  that  showing  mercy  were  a  blasphemous   act  against  the  Christian  God,  condemnation  of  Shylock’s  reasoning  may  have  been  less   overt.  Yet  since  Antonio  has  cast  himself  as  a  sort  of  Jesus  of  Venice  pitted  against  the   “hard…Jewish  heart,”  there  can  be  no  room  for  religious  tolerance  and  thus  nothing  short  of   total  condemnation  for  Shylock  (TMOV  IV.i.78-­‐80).     Even  Portia,  disguised  as  Balthasar  and  brought  in  to  help  decide  the  case,   recommends  mercy  as  the  only  proper  course  of  action:             Therefore  Jew,       Though  justice  be  thy  plea,  consider  this:       That  in  the  course  of  justice  none  of  us       Should  see  salvation.  We  do  pray  for  mercy,       And  that  same  prayer  doth  teach  us  all  to  render       The  deeds  of  mercy.  (TMOV  IV.i.195-­‐200)  


This poetic  argument  seems  as  if  it  were  the  long-­‐awaited  missing  piece,  the  final  key  to   turn  Shylock  from  his  murderous  intent,  except  that  while  this  New  Testament  argument   may  be  the  light-­‐seeing  moment  to  the  Christians  in  the  court,  Shylock’s  religion  does  not   subscribe  to  the  Christian  idea  of  a  merciful  God  who  forgives  sins  after  sincere  repentance.   That  Portia’s  lyrical  speech,  her  argument  to  which  he  can  have  no  possible  rebuttal,  fails  to   move  Shylock  to  mercy  should  not  shock  the  onlookers  in  the  court,  but  their  close-­‐minded   Christian  bias  again  shows  its  utter  failure  to  properly  negotiate  the  case.  This  again,   however,  highlights  Antonio’s  virtuosity  in  manipulation,  for  by  choosing  to  exploit  such  a   bias,  his  crusade  against  Shylock  (which  has  never  really  been  about  religion,  but  more   about  Antonio’s  fervent  desire  to  belong)  can  be  realized.       Thus,  at  the  expense  of  a  Jewish  man  who  has  already  lost  a  good  bit  of  his  own   fortune  in  addition  to  his  daughter,  Antonio  pulls  the  final  punch  in  the  form  of  seemingly   ultimate  Christian  mercy.  His  life  saved  by  a  small  discrepancy  in  the  law,  Antonio  accepts   neither  Shylock’s  life  nor  his  goods  as  payment  for  “contriv[ing]  against  [his]  very  life,”  but,   still  imitating  Jesus,  merely  asks  that           [Shylock]  will  let  [Antonio]  have       The  other  half  [of  his  goods]  in  use,  to  render  it       Upon  [Shylock’s]  death  unto  the  gentleman       That  lately  stole  his  daughter.       Two  things  provided  more:  that  for  this  favor       [Shylock]  presently  become  a  Christian;       The  other,  that  he  do  record  a  gift       Here  in  the  court  of  all  he  dies  possessed       Unto  his  son  Lorenzo  and  his  daughter.  (TMOV  IV.i.358,  380-­‐388)   All  his  schemes  come  to  fruition,  and  Antonio  is  triumphant,  though  barely  escaping  death.   For  not  only  is  he  finally  able  to  exact  his  ultimate  revenge  on  Shylock,  he  does  so  in  a   manner  that  simultaneously  reinforces—indeed  guarantees—his  good  Christian  status  in   Venice.  In  one  fell  move,  Antonio  banishes  the  outsider  by  redefining  him.  He  removes  the   physical,  walking  reminder  of  his  duplicity  and  morally  questionable  monetary  practices   and  replaces  him  with  a  Shylock  stripped  entirely  of  his  identity,  a  Christian  by  force  who  is   forbidden  from  usury  now  that  he  is  no  longer  Jewish,  and  who  no  longer  has  “that  [which]   doth  sustain  [his]  house”  (TMOV  IV.i.374).  Indeed,  Antonio’s  mercy  robs  Shylock  of  his   money,  his  house,  his  friends,  his  religion,  and  forces  him  to  acknowledge  as  son  the  man   who  stole  his  daughter.  All  so  that  Antonio  may  stand  in  the  good  Christian  graces  of   Venetian  society,  and  more  importantly,  endear  himself  to  Bassanio.     The  character  of  Antonio  proves  as  dark  and  as  complex  as  any  found  elsewhere  in   Shakespeare’s  works.  An  insecure  Christian  merchant  driven  by  lust,  obsession,  and  a  will   bent  on  dominating  the  society  in  which  he  lives,  Antonio  willingly  tramples  over  others  to   establish  his  place.  His  quest  for  not  just  belongingness,  but  utter  takeover  of  Venetian   society  stems  from  a  power-­‐hungry  mind  that  is  at  once  overconfident  and  insecure.   Antonio  bends  people  easily  to  his  will  by  playing  on  their  passions  and  weaknesses,   carefully  manipulating  them  with  a  balance  of  self-­‐depreciation,  understatement,  and  a   roundabout  questioning  of  honor.  But  he  resorts  to  such  manipulative  strategies  because   he  is  forever  insecure  of  his  standing,  both  with  Bassanio  and  with  Venice  as  a  whole.   Unsure  whether  his  profession  is  too  similar  to  that  of  usury,  he  sets  out  to  systematically   destroy  any  suggestion  of  similarity,  and  finds  his  target  in  Shylock.  Unsure,  also,  whether  


he has  earned  the  fully  requited  love  of  Bassanio,  he  stretches  himself  to  the  uttermost  to   prove  his  genuineness,  and  secure  Bassanio’s  affections.  Yet  his  manipulation  does  little  to   assuage  his  ulterior  motives  where  Bassanio  is  concerned,  for  by  the  end  of  the  play  he  has   secured  position  in  Venice  but  so  also  has  Bassanio  secured  position  with  Portia.  Thus  the   schemer’s  victory  is  hollow:  he  finally  sits  atop  the  pyramid  of  social  standing,  but  he  sits   there  alone.                                       Works  Cited   Holmer,  Joan  Ozark.  “Miles  Mosse’s  The  Arraignment  and  Conviction  of  Vsurie  (1595):  A   New  Source  for  The  Merchant  of  Venice.”  Shakespeare  Studies  21.11  (1993):  np.   EBSCOE.  Web.  26  April  2015.   Patterson,  Steve.  "The  Bankruptcy  of  Homoerotic  Amity  in  Shakespeare's  Merchant  of   Venice."  Shakespeare  Quarterly  50.1  (1999):  9-­‐32.  MLA  International  Bibliography.   Web.  30  Mar.  2015.   Rosenshield,  Gary.  “Deconstructing  the  Christian  Merchant:  Antonio  and  The  Merchant  of   Venice."  SHOFAR  20.2  (Winter  2002):  28-­‐51.  JSTOR.  Web.  30  March  2015.   Shakespeare,  William.  The  Merchant  of  Venice.  The  Complete  Pelican  Shakespeare.  Ed.  Orgel,   Stephen,  and  A.  R.  Braumuller.  New  York:  Penguin  Group,  2002.  293-­‐323.  Print.   Wilson,  Thomas.  A  Discourse  Upon  Usury  by  Way  of  Dialogue  and  Orations,  for  the  Better   Variety  and  More  Delight  of  all  Those  That  Shall  Read  This  Treatise,  1572  Ed.  Tawney,   R.  H.  London:  G.  Bell,  1925.  Print.      


Infinite Variety:     Ovid  and  the  Transformative  Power  of  Passion  in  Titus  Andronicus  and   Antony  and  Cleopatra     Rachel  C.  Morrison  ‘16       It  is  almost  a  requirement  of  the  genre  to  open  scholarship  on  Shakespeare’s  affinity   for  Ovid  by  citing  Francis  Meres’s  1598  pronouncement  that  “the  sweet  witty  soul  of  Ovid   lives  in  mellifluous  and  hony-­‐tongued  Shakespeare”  (Taylor  198).  And  indeed,  Ovid’s  wit   and  way  with  words  do  infuse  Shakespeare’s  work,  but  the  similarities  do  not  stop  there.   More  surprisingly,  the  most  playful  of  the  epic  poets  has  a  major  presence  in  Shakespeare’s   tragedies.  This  paper  will  consider  in  particular  the  ways  in  which  Titus  Andronicus  and   Antony  and  Cleopatra  are  fundamentally  Ovidian  tragedies.  First,  they  use  language,  images,   and  stories  from  Ovid  to  create  (or  recreate)  their  own  mythologies.  Indeed,  this  process  of   drawing  from  and  reimagining  a  number  of  sources  in  the  interest  of  creating  new  myths   (or  versions  of  myths)  is  itself  Ovidian.  Moreover,  for  all  their  differences,  these  two  plays   are  tales  of  the  transformative  power  of  passion,  a  theme  which  also  lies  at  the  heart  of  the   Metamorphoses.  Like  Ovid,  Shakespeare  is  interested  in  the  metamorphosis  and  loss  of  self   that  can  occur  under  the  influence  of  intense  emotion.  Finally,  on  an  intertextual  level,   Shakespeare’s  reinventions  of  Ovid  represent  an  engagement  with  the  “uses”  of  literature.   Both  plays  suggest  a  connection  between  metamorphosis  and  reading,  which  can  be  either   violent  and  destructive  (as  in  Titus  Andronicus)  or  redemptive  (as  in  Antony  and  Cleopatra).   Shakespeare  likely  encountered  Ovid  early  in  life:  the  Metamorphoses  in  particular   were  widely  taught  in  schools,  along  with,  on  occasion,  selections  from  the  Heroides,  Fasti,   or  Tristia  (Bate  21).  Much  ink  has  been  spilled  in  arguments  over  just  how  much  education   Shakespeare  received  and  what  it  might  have  entailed,  but  scholars  are  reasonably  sure   that  Jonson’s  “small  Latine,  and  lesse  Greek”  aphorism  was  something  of  an  exaggeration,   especially  by  modern  standards  (Baldwin  1).  Although  Shakespeare  never  attended  college   and  might  not  have  been  as  well-­‐read  as  Jonson  himself,  he  had  almost  certainly  had   enough  Latin  to  read  Ovid  in  the  original  (Baldwin  417).  Moreover,  grammar  schools  in   sixteenth-­‐  and  seventeenth-­‐century  England  made  heavy  use  of  imitation  in  training   students  to  write  well:  John  Brinsley  suggests  that  schoolmasters  select  some  “pleasant  and   easie”  verses  from  Ovid  and  have  their  students  translate  them  into  English  verse  (193).   Then,  without  looking  at  the  Latin,  the  boys  should  translate  their  English  renderings  back   into  Latin  and,  finally,  compare  their  creations  to  the  original,  which  “shall  much  incourage   and  assure  them”  (Brinsley  193).  “It  is  not  an  exaggeration,”  Bate  concludes,  “to  say  that   Shakespeare’s  first  lessons  in  poetry  were  lessons  in  the  imitation  of  Ovid”  (22).   It  is  worth  asking  which  Ovid(s)  Shakespeare  might  have  known.  That  is  to  say,  the   poet  who  concerned  himself  with  the  variety  and  meaning  of  metamorphosis  has  been   reinterpreted  and  reimagined  with  fitting  creativity  and  regularity  over  the  course  of  the   last  two  thousand  years;  which  of  these  incarnations  would  Shakespeare  have   encountered?  During  the  Renaissance,  reception  of  Ovid  (along  with  other  classical  


writers) was  in  the  middle  of  a  tumultuous  phase,  due  in  large  part  to  grand  philosophical   debates  over  religion,  morality,  poetry,  and  imagination.  Ovid  had  long  enjoyed  a   popularity  with  Christian  audiences  somewhat  surprising  for  a  pagan  erotic  poet.   Beginning  as  early  as  the  fourth  century,  “writers  subjected  Ovid’s  Creation,  or  elements  of   it,  to  a  variety  of  transmutations  as  protean  as  any  in  his  epic”  (Wright  84).  Christian   appropriations  of  Ovid  did  not  stop,  however,  with  obvious  instances  of  overlap  like  his   creation  story,  which  does  have  many  parallels  to  the  one  in  Genesis.  In  the  twelfth  and   thirteenth  centuries,  Ovid  “rose  [...]  to  great  prestige  as  a  covert  Christian  who  had  written   erotic  lyrics  and  fables  in  order  to  convey  sacred  doctrine  and  moral  wisdom”  (Hardin  45).   Within  this  framework,  allegorical  interpretations  of  Ovid,  some  of  which  were  reasonable   while  others  were  astonishingly  labored  analogies,  abounded:  Phaeton’s  fiery  fall   symbolizes  Lucifer’s  rebellion,  Daphne  is  a  testament  to  the  glory  of  virginity,  the  fate  of   Sisyphus  serves  as  a  warning  against  excessive  ambition  (Mulryan  30-­‐31).  Not  even  the   erotic  love  elegies  of  the  Amores  could  escape  the  allegorical  treatment:  one  bishop   “moralized  Ovid’s  amorous  poetry  by  applying  it  to  a  nun’s  love  for  Christ”  (Bate  25).   Although  some  of  these  hermeneutical  acrobatics  might  strike  modern  readers  as   ridiculous,  or  as  plain  old  bad  scholarship,  we  might,  more  positively,  think  of  these   transformations  as  a  natural  part  of  evolving  mythology.  Ovid  re-­‐crafted  the  old  stories  in   order  to  make  them  fit  into  his  own  artistic  vision—which  was  hardly  unusual,  since  the   ancients  often  appropriated  myth  for  their  own  ends—and  centuries  of  Europeans  did  the   same.   By  the  time  Shakespeare  read  Ovid,  this  approach  was  still  fairly  popular,  although   readers  were  evolving  somewhat  in  their  methods  of  interpretation.  Arthur  Golding,  whose   widely-­‐read  1567  translation  of  the  Metamorphoses  is  now  republished  as  Shakespeare’s   Ovid  (ed.  Rouse),  “was  a  devout  Puritan  who  also  translated  the  works  of  John  Calvin”   (Starks-­‐Estes  5).  Golding’s  justification  of  how  the  text  can  edify  Christian  audiences  is  less   about  the  allegorical  properties  of  specific  stories  and  more  about  his  interpretation  of   metamorphosis  (and  especially  Pythagoras’s  speech  on  metempsychosis)  as  a  type  of   resurrection.  “Thus,  for  Golding,”  Starks-­‐Estes  explains,  “Pythagoras  provided  an  antidote   to  the  human  dread  of  mortality,  foreshadowing  the  message  of  Christian  salvation”  (5).   Like  Golding,  Shakespeare  seems  to  have  absorbed  and  processed  some  of  Ovid’s  major   themes—although,  especially  in  Titus  Andronicus,  he  also  repurposes  individual  stories  to   create  new  meaning.  Shakespeare’s  uses  of  Ovid  are  still,  to  some  degree,  moral  and   didactic  in  nature;  they  are  also,  however,  more  complex  than  the  allusions  and   interpretations  of  many  of  his  predecessors  and  contemporaries.     One  of  the  major  themes  of  the  Metamorphoses  is  the  transformative  power  of   passion,  and  this  is  a  theme  that  runs  through  both  Titus  Andronicus  and  Antony  and   Cleopatra  as  well.  The  nature  of  both  the  transformations  and  the  passions  is  wildly   different  in  the  two  plays,  but  these  two  large-­‐scale  overlaps  are  enough  to  make  them   stand  out  as  among  the  most  Ovidian  of  Shakespeare’s  plays.  Titus  is  transformed  by  grief   and  rage,  Antony  by  love,  but  both  are  pushed  to  such  a  frenzied  degree  of  emotion  that   they  become  something  other  than  what  they  once  were.   Titus  Andronicus  was  Shakespeare’s  first  tragedy,  and  even  compared  to  his  other   works  with  Greek  and  Roman  settings,  it  has  an  abundance  of  classical  allusions.  In  fact,  its   references  are  so  constant  and,  in  many  cases,  so  obvious  that  critics  have  long  found  them   (and,  by  extension,  the  play  itself)  off-­‐putting.  “For  most  of  us,”  complains  one  such  scholar,  


“the play  is  a  vile  hash  of  Ovid,  Plutarch,  Seneca,  and  Virgil,  made  more  unpalatable  by  the   self-­‐consciousness  of  the  various  imitations  and  allusions”  (Miola  85).  In  other  words,  there   is  a  sort  of  violence  in  the  frequency  and  force  of  the  play’s  classical  elements.  Instead  of   reading  this  literary  brutality  as  a  symptom  of  a  still-­‐developing  playwright’s  immaturity,   however,  we  might  view  it  as  an  intentional  effect  and  an  important  part  of  the  play’s   thematic  concerns;  after  all,  there  is  a  lot  of  violence,  full  stop,  in  Titus  Andronicus.     The  connection  between  allusion  and  violence  is  particularly  striking  in  the  case  of   Ovid,  who  tends  to  be  better  known  for  his  lighter  elements.  Everything  about  Meres’s   “sweet  witty  soul”  comparison  is  upbeat  and  charming,  so  it  might  initially  seem  surprising   that  perhaps  Shakespeare’s  most  explicitly  Ovidian  play  takes  on  such  a  dark  tone.  On  the   other  hand,  though,  that  undercurrent  of  darkness  runs  throughout  the  Metamorphoses:   desire  is  so  often  fire,  with  people  “burning”  for  love  (or  lust).  It  has  become  such  a   common  metaphor  for  passion  that  it  is  easy  to  forget  how  violent  burning  really  is,  how   terrifying  and  destructive  it  is  to  be  consumed.  Often,  however,  the  dark  consequences  of   desire  are  even  more  explicit:  throughout  the  Metamorphoses,  Ovid  addresses  the  trauma   of  sexual  violence,  which,  of  course,  figures  prominently  in  Titus  Andronicus.   Lavinia  is  not  as  complex  or  fully  realized  a  character  as,  say,  Cleopatra;  she  spends   most  of  the  play  quite  literally  silenced,  of  course,  and  thus  has  inspired  far  less  scholarship   than  some  of  Shakespeare’s  more  verbose  women.  Often,  scholars  view  her  as  simply  a  step   towards  character  development  for  the  men  around  her  (especially  Titus).  Although  this   pitfall  is  unfortunate,  to  some  degree  exploring  Lavinia’s  character  does  require   considering  Titus’s  as  well,  since  their  metamorphoses  are  intimately  intertwined  and  are   dependent  upon  one  another.  Nevertheless,  Deborah  Willis  argues,  “The  dramatic  rise  in   favor  of  Titus  Andronicus  among  critics  and  directors  has-­‐perhaps  not  coincidentally-­‐ closely  paralleled  the  growth  of  feminist  Shakespeare  criticism”  (21).  In  Titus  Andronicus,   the  abuses  of  Lavinia  are  not  simply  a  matter  of  fact;  the  play  seems  to  find  them  deeply   troubling,  and  takes  her  trauma  seriously.  This  approach  reflects  Ovid’s  in  the   Metamorphoses.  Both  texts  assume  the  existence  of  gendered  power  structures,  but  do  not   allow  these  forces  to  go  entirely  unexamined.   Lavinia,  of  course,  spends  most  of  the  play  silent  because  she  has  lost  her  tongue,  so   first  we  must  consider  what  we  learn  about  her  while  she  still  has  the  capacity  to  speak.   Even  then,  however,  she  says  very  little:  when  her  father  returns,  she  welcomes  him   warmly  (I.i.158-­‐164),  and  when  Saturninus  asks  if  she  is  not  displeased  with  his  proposal,   she  replies  that  no,  she  is  not  displeased—a  fairly  unenthusiastic,  if  diplomatic,  response  to   an  offer  from  such  a  powerful  man  (I.i.274-­‐275).  For  the  rest  of  Act  One,  even  when  the   men  around  her  argue  over  whether  or  not  she  is  already  betrothed,  she  remains  silent;  we   never  know  whether  she  had  actually  agreed  to  an  engagement  with  Bassanius.  Some   scholars  have  argued  that  “Lavinia's  silence,  when  she  is—according  to  Titus—‘abducted,’   suggests  Lavinia's  autonomous  assent  and  thus  violation  of  Titus'  masculine  and   patriarchal  authority”  (Harris  390).  The  problem  with  this  interpretation,  however,  is  that   the  two  times  Lavinia  does  speak  in  this  scene  are  formal  and  seemingly  expected:  she   welcomes  her  father  home,  and  responds  to  a  proposal.  Lavinia,  then,  even  when  in  full   possession  of  her  faculties,  never  speaks  out  of  turn.   In  Act  Two,  the  Ovidian  elements  grow  more  explicit.  “The  forest  walks  are  wide  and   spacious,”  Aaron  tells  Demetrius  and  Chiron  as  he  instructs  them  on  how  to  rape  Lavinia,   “And  many  unfrequented  plots  there  are,  /  Fitted  by  kind  for  rape  and  villainy”  (II.i.121-­‐


123). These  seemingly  idyllic  natural  settings,  he  suggests,  are  a  perfect  setting  for  the   sexual  violence  they  wish  to  enact:  there  they  can  trap  their  “dainty  doe”  and  “strike”   (II.i.124-­‐125).  In  the  Metamorphoses,  beautiful  scenery  (especially  forests  and  groves)  often   sets  the  stage  for  sexual  violence  (or  at  least  the  attempt  thereof).  Hunting,  in  particular,   fits  nicely  with  one  of  Ovid’s  favorite  metaphors  for  desire:  the  chase.  Perhaps  the  most   famous  such  chase,  Apollo’s  pursuit  of  Daphne,  occurs  towards  the  beginning  of  the   Metamorphoses,  but  the  motif  of  a  male  hunter  racing  after  a  woman  (sometimes  herself  a   huntress)  who  is  compared  to  a  frightened  animal  appears  consistently  throughout  the   poem.  When  Aesacus  sets  his  sights  on  Hesperia,  “visa  fugit  nymphe,  veluti  perterrita   fulvum  /  cerva  lupum”  (“having  been  seen  the  nymph  flees,  just  like  a  terrified  deer  from  a   tawny  wolf,”1  11.771-­‐772).  Later,  as  the  Cyclops  Polyphemos  searches  for  Galatea,  the   human  woman  he  desires,  he  complains  that  her  speed  is  “non  tantum  cervo  claris   latratibus  acto”  (“No  less  than  a  deer  startled  by  loud  barking,”  13.806).  Likewise,  in  Titus   Andronicus,  imagery  of  deer  and  hunting  haunts  descriptions  of  Lavinia  long  after  she  has   lost  her  ability  to  speak.  When  Marcus  brings  the  silenced,  disfigured  young  woman  to   Titus,  he  explains,  “O,  thus  I  found  her  straying  in  the  park,  /  Seeking  to  hide  herself  as  doth   the  deer  /  That  hath  received  some  unrecurring  wound”  (III.i.90-­‐92).  Later,  as  he  struggles   to  determine  what  exactly  has  happened  to  his  daughter,  Titus  laments,  “Ay,  such  a  place   there  is  where  we  did  hunt—  /  O,  had  we  never,  never  hunted  there!—  [...]  By  nature  made   for  murders  and  for  rapes”  (IV.i.56-­‐59).  Shakespeare,  then,  repeatedly  draws  our  attention   to  the  location  of  the  rape,  the  hunting  metaphor,  and  its  Ovidian  origins.   In  a  play  full  of  metaphorical  metamorphoses  (most  notably  that  of  Titus,  who  is   transformed  by  rage),  Lavinia  represents  perhaps  the  first  (and  certainly  the  most   memorable)  physical  metamorphosis.  Her  similarities  to  Ovid’s  doomed  heroines  begin  in   the  scene  before  the  horrible  change:  at  the  end  of  Act  Two,  scene  three,  having  been  seized   in  the  forest  by  Tamora,  Chiron,  and  Demetrius,  she  beseeches  Tamora:   ’Tis  present  death  I  beg,  and  one  thing  more     That  womanhood  denies  my  tongue  to  tell.     O,  keep  me  from  their  worse-­‐than-­‐killing  lust,     And  tumble  me  into  some  loathsome  pit     Where  never  man’s  eye  may  behold  my  body.  (I.iii.173-­‐177)   This  scene  is  reminiscent  of  several  ill-­‐fated  virgins  from  the  Metamorphoses,  most  notably   Daphne.  Like  Lavinia,  she  encounters  trouble  while  “inpatiens  expersque  viri  nemora  avia   lustrat”  (“Disinterested  and  free  from  man,  she  wanders  through  solitary  groves,”  1.479).   Also  like  Lavinia,  when  she  realizes  what  is  going  to  happen  to  her,  she  responds  by  turning   to  a  higher  power—the  only  higher  power  she  can  think  of—and  begging  for  a  desperate,   self-­‐destructive  solution.  Invoking  her  river-­‐god  father,  she  pleads:  “fer  pater  [...]  /  opem  si   flumina  numen  habetis.  /  Qua  nimium  placui,  mutando  perde  figuram!”  (“Bring  help,  father,   if  you  as  a  river  have  divinity.  Destroy  what  pleases  too  much,  by  changing  this  body,”   1.544-­‐546).  Daphne  is  not  as  specific  as  Lavinia,  and  whether  her  fate—being  transformed   into  a  tree—is  better  or  worse  than  death  remains  up  for  debate,  but  in  any  case,  the   similarities  are  evident.  Intriguingly,  this  parallel  makes  Tamora,  Chiron,  and  Demetrius   the  “gods”  of  Lavinia’s  story.  Although  the  comparison  can  only  go  so  far,  it  is  illuminating                                                                                                                             1  All  translations  are  my  own.  


nonetheless: these  three  characters  (along  with  Aaron),  strange  and  foreign  threats,  use   their  power  to  change  and  destroy  those  around  them,  which  sometimes  gives  them  roles   which,  in  the  Metamorphoses,  would  belong  to  gods.   And  in  the  forest,  whose  secrecy  creates  the  illusion  that  they  need  not  answer  to   anyone  for  their  actions,  these  characters  can  enact  their  will  in  the  style  of  gods.  The   recurring  theme  that  the  forests  are  “[f]itted  by  kind  for  rape  and  villainy”  (II.i.123)  and   “[b]y  nature  made  for  murders  and  for  rapes”  (IV.i.59)  comes  in  part,  of  course,  from  the   fact  that  forests  are  out  of  the  way,  which  reduces  one’s  chances  of  getting  caught.  It  also,   however,  points  to  the  perverse  version  of  intertextuality  that  runs  through  the  play  and  all   its  “vile  hash”  of  classical  allusions.  The  precise  moment  in  Roman  history  when  the  events   of  Titus  Andronicus  are  supposed  to  be  unfolding  is  never  entirely  clear,2  but  of  course   that’s  hardly  the  point;  what  matters  is  that  it  is  not  Rome,  but  a  self-­‐reflective  version  of   Rome  which  has  access  to  its  own  history  and  literature  and  uses  them  to  make  sense  of   the  events  unfolding  onstage.  However,  the  characters  in  this  play  also  have  more  sinister   uses  for  their  history  and  literature.  Indeed,  Titus  Andronicus  presents  possibly  one  of   fiction’s  most  horrifying  examples  of  “learning  from  literature.”   Operating  under  the  looming  influence  of  Ovid’s  version,  Demetrius  and  Chiron  add   even  more  brutality  to  their  recreation  of  the  tale  of  Tereus,  Procne,  and  Philomela,  cutting   off  Lavinia’s  hands  so  that  she,  unlike  Philomela,  cannot  reveal  her  rapists  via  tapestry.   When  he  sees  what  has  happened  to  Lavinia,  Marcus  laments,  “A  craftier  Tereus,  cousin,   hast  thou  met,  /  And  he  hath  cut  those  pretty  fingers  off  /  That  could  have  better  sewed   than  Philomel”  (II.iv.41-­‐43).  A  few  scenes  later,  the  pervasive  influence  of  the   Metamorphoses  becomes  even  more  explicit  when  a  copy  of  the  text  appears  onstage.   Lavinia  chases  her  nephew,  young  Lucius,  while  he  is  trying  to  study,  and  the  boy,  terrified,   runs  to  Titus  and  Marcus.  Titus,  who  knows  that  his  daughter  is  “deeper  read”  (IV.i.34),   initially  assumes  that  she  simply  wants  to  borrow  some  of  Lucius’s  books,  since  she  has   limited  entertainment  options  otherwise,  and  offers,  “Come  and  take  choice  of  all  my   library,  /  And  so  beguile  thy  sorrow  till  the  heavens  /  Reveal  the  damned  contriver  of  this   deed”  (IV.i.35-­‐37).  Literature,  however,  is  not  merely  a  way  for  Lavinia  to  pass  the  time,  or   to  escape  her  reality;  it  is  actually  what  enables  her  to  take  control  of  reality  and  move   towards  revenge.   Moreover,  in  a  way,  Lavinia  herself  becomes  a  text,  left  open  to  the  readings  and   interpretations  of  those  around  her.  Titus,  especially,  comes  to  view  her  as  a  text  he  must   work  through.  Lamenting  her  limited  communication,  he  promises,  “Thou  shalt  not  sigh,   nor  hold  thy  stumps  to  heaven,  /  Nor  wink,  nor  nod,  nor  kneel,  nor  make  a  sign,  /  But  I  of   these  will  wrest  an  alphabet”  (III.ii.42-­‐44).  To  Marcus,  he  insists,  “I  can  interpret  all  her   martyred  signs”  (III.ii.36).  One  scholar  suggests  that  Titus’s  dedication  to  reading  and   interpreting  Lavinia  in  this  scene  represents,  not  just  paternal  devotion,  but  also  an   investment  in  order  over  the  chaos  introduced  by  Tamora  and  company:                                                                                                                             2  Although  some  of  its  named  characters  are,  in  fact,  based  on  historical  figures,  this  play,  unlike   Shakespeare’s  later  Roman  plays,  shows  little  concern  for  historical  accuracy.  See,  e.g.,  Spencer  (1957)   32:  the  political  realities  in  Titus  Andronicus  “are  certainly  peculiar,  and  cannot  be  placed  at  any  known   period  in  Roman  history,  as  can  those  in  Coriolanus  or  Julius  Caesar;  and  they  afford  a  strange  contrast   with  the  care  and  authenticity  of  those  later  plays  [...]  The  play  does  not  assume  a  political  situation   known  to  Roman  history;  it  is,  rather,  a  summary  of  Roman  politics.”  


Titus here  makes  an  important  return  to  the  crucial  act  of  reading  and  recognition,   reaffirming  his  commitment  to  textual  integrity  by  promising  to  find  the  meaning   hidden  in  the  broken,  inscrutable  text  before  him.  By  pledging  to  “wrest  an   alphabet”  from  Rome's  most  mangled  allusion,  Titus  announces  his  intention  to   make  sense  of  the  Goth's  nonsense,  to  reintroduce  meaning  to  the  city's  now   vacuous  texts.  (St.  Hilaire  322-­‐323)   Within  this  framework,  the  play’s  twisted  allusions  represent  “a  Rome  where  Roman  texts   have  lost  their  meaning”  (St.  Hilaire  322),  and  in  order  to  reclaim  his  identity  and  combat   the  insidious  Goths,  Titus  must  restore  order  in  every  area  that  has  been  wrecked  by  the   chaos  of  Tamora,  Aaron,  Chiron,  and  Demetrius.  Whereas  the  Goths  use  violence  to  create   confusion  and  break  down  Roman  order,  Titus  must  ‘read’  their  violence  in  order  to  bring   meaning  out  of  what  has  happened.   Of  course,  whatever  symbolic  significance  we  attach  to  Titus’s  reading  of  Lavinia,   paternal  affection  is  also  a  factor  in  his  attentiveness  to  his  daughter  and  his  vow,  “I  will   learn  thy  thought”  (III.ii.39).  Although  this  point  might  seem  obvious,  it  bears  mentioning   for  two  reasons.  First,  many  critics  have  argued  that  the  play,  including  its  title  character,   treats  Lavinia  as  no  more  than  an  object.  From  her  “introduction  into  the  play  [...]  as  a   device  to  effect  a  transfer  of  power”  (Harris  385),  to  her  enforced  silence  and  role  as  Titus’s   motivation  for  vengeance,  the  argument  goes,  Lavinia  is  not  so  much  a  character  unto   herself  as  something  to  be  argued  over  by  the  men  in  the  play.  Second,  a  consideration  of   Titus’s  speech  and  behavior  elsewhere  in  the  play  reveals  that  his  love  for  Lavinia  is  not   necessarily  a  given:  he  is  an  otherwise  unsentimental  man—even  when  it  comes  to  his  own   sons.  In  an  incident  that  is  mentioned  with  shocking  infrequency  in  scholarship  on  the  play,   Titus  kills  his  own  son,  Mutius,3  in  the  very  first  scene.  When  Lavinia  is  taken  offstage   amidst  competing  claims  to  her  hand  in  marriage,  Titus  begins  to  follow  her,  but  Mutius,  in   a  move  that  might  appear  to  be  sympathetic  to  Saturninus  (but,  on  the  other  hand,  might  be   an  attempt  to  protect  Titus),  says  to  his  father,  “My  lord,  you  pass  not  here”  (I.i.294).   Enraged,  Titus  stabs  and  kills  his  son  without  waiting  for  further  clarification,  and  at  no   point  in  the  play  does  he  show  any  remorse  for  the  act.  When  his  brother  and  remaining   sons  beg  him  to  allow  them  to  bury  Mutius,  Titus  resists.  Eventually,  Lucius  and  company   do  succeed  in  burying  their  slain  kinsman,  but  even  then,  Titus  refuses  to  participate;   according  to  the  stage  directions,  “They  all  except  Titus  kneel”  (I.i.396)  and  pay  their   respects  while  Mutius’s  father  stands  back  coldly.   Titus’s  love,  even  for  his  children,  is  not  unconditional.  When  Lucius  protests,  “In   wrongful  quarrel  you  have  slain  your  son”  (I.i.299),  Titus  replies,  “Nor  thou  nor  he  are  any   sons  of  mine.  /  My  sons  would  never  so  dishonor  me”  (I.i.300-­‐301).  Later,  while  his  brother                                                                                                                             3  Mutius’s  name,  which  in  Latin  seems  to  be  a  comparative  form  of  “mutus”  (mute/dumb/speechless),  at   least  bears  mentioning.  It  seems  to  point  to  an  implicit  comparison  between  this  doomed  son  of  Titus,   and  his  famously  speechless  sister.  Mutius,  like  Lavinia,  gets  very  few  lines,  and  is  swiftly  prevented   from  uttering  any  more.  However,  in  Lavinia’s  case,  their  father  works  tirelessly  to  understand  what  she   is  thinking,  and  what  he  learns,  along  with  his  rage  at  the  harm  done  to  her,  drives  much  of  the  rest  of   the  plot.  In  Mutius’s  case,  on  the  other  hand,  it  is  Titus  who  does  the  silencing  and  the  harm,  and  he   never  regrets  or  revisits  the  matter—and,  in  fact,  does  not  even  want  to  give  him  a  proper  burial.  Once   Act  One  closes,  Mutius  is  forgotten  forever  (even  by  many  scholars,  it  turns  out).  Thus,  true  to  his  name,   he  is  even  more  speechless  than  his  tongue-­‐less  sister.  


and sons  attempt  to  persuade  him  to  stay  his  anger  and  let  them  bury  Mutius,  Marcus  tries:   “O  Titus,  see!  O,  see  what  thou  hast  done!  /  In  a  bad  quarrel  slain  a  virtuous  son”  (I.i.348-­‐ 349).  Again,  Titus  calls  Mutius  “no  son  of  mine”  (I.i.350).  Compare  this  hasty  but   unrelenting  wrath  with  his  interactions  with  Lavinia.  “This  was  thy  daughter,”  says  Marcus   when  he  brings  the  disgraced  and  mutilated  girl  to  her  father,  but  Titus  immediately   corrects  his  brother’s  use  of  the  past  tense:  “Why,  Marcus,  so  she  is”  (III.i.65).  When  his  son   seems  to  have  been  used  by  the  enemy,  Titus  murders  him  and  never  looks  back;  when  his   daughter  is  used  by  the  enemy,  he  welcomes  her  back  with  open  arms  and,  enraged,  seeks   to  revenge  her.  Of  course,  Lavinia  suffers  against  her  will,  so  my  point  is  certainly  not  to   suggest  that  she  wants  to  be  used  by  the  enemy,  but  rather  to  note  that  there  is  not  really   sufficient  evidence  to  suggest  that  Mutius  means  to  betray  his  father.  In  the  face  of  two   children  potentially  used  as  pawns  by  his  enemies,  however,  Titus  kills  his  son,  but  is   comparatively  gentle  and  attentive  towards  his  daughter,  which  might  stem  from  a  mindset   that  sees  women  as  weaker  and  in  need  of  protection.   Even  Mutius’s  death,  however,  fits  into  the  portrayal  of  Titus  as  powerful,  collected,   noble  Roman  at  the  beginning  of  the  play.  Shocking  and  impulsive  as  it  might  seem,  his   murder  of  a  (possibly)  rebellious  son  does  fit  into  the  framework  of  the  all-­‐powerful   Roman  paterfamilias  (Cantarella  182,  197-­‐8).  Of  course,  the  incident  does  reveal  there  is   already  plenty  of  potential  for  violence  in  him;  moreover,  he  is  a  war  hero,  and  in  that   scene,  he  also  refuses  mercy  to  Tamora’s  firstborn  son,  ordering  the  execution  of  Alarbus.   Here,  however,  there  is  reason  and  restraint  to  the  violence  he  enacts.  If  he  wanted  to,  Titus   could  justify  the  killing  of  Alarbus  on  the  grounds  of  vengeance  by  pointing  to  the  many   sons  he  has  lost  to  Tamora’s  subjects;  instead,  he  invokes  something  outside  of  himself,   giving  the  impression  that  his  own  emotions  are  not  a  major  factor  in  his  decision.  Asking   Tamora’s  “pardon,”  he  points  to  the  men  gathered  and  explains,  almost  apologetically,  that:   for  their  brethren  slain   Religiously  they  ask  a  sacrifice.   To  this  your  son  is  marked,  and  die  he  must,   T’  appease  their  groaning  shadows  that  are  gone.  (I.i.123-­‐126)   This  is  the  language  of  necessity  and  even  duty,  but  not  of  passion;  it  is  the  language  of   justice,  rather  than  mere  vengeance.  To  be  sure,  bloodshed  in  the  very  first  scene  is  still   fairly  ominous,  and  Tamora,  challenging  Titus’s  “Pius”  moniker,  protests,  “O  cruel,   irreligious  piety!”  (I.i.130.)  Nevertheless,  there  is  an  internal  logic  to  the  violence  Titus   commits  in  the  first  act  (and  to  all  of  the  violence  he  has  committed  in  the  backstory),  and   within  the  world  of  the  play,  there  is  no  reason  to  believe  that  any  of  it  it  (even  the  murder   of  Mutius)  is  necessarily  at  odds  with  his  initial  portrayal  as  virtuous  Roman.   Titus’s  transformation,  then,  does  not  truly  begin  until  Lavinia’s  gruesome  physical   metamorphosis.  In  Act  Three,  scene  one,  audiences  witness  his  transformations,  both   physical  and  emotional,  unfold.  The  tone  of  the  scene  is  reminiscent  of  classical  tragedy,  in   which  characters  onstage  lament,  at  great  length,  the  pain  and  horror  of  the  situation  at   hand.  It  is  a  theatrical  self-­‐consciousness  not  often  seen  so  clearly  in  Renaissance  drama,  so   its  presence  in  Titus  Andronicus  is  particularly  striking.  Having  already  lost  so  many  sons,   Titus  discovers  that  his  daughter  has  been  brutally  attacked,  and  then  loses  his  own  hand.   There  is  a  tense,  building  sense  of  pressure  throughout  the  scene,  until  at  last  Titus  breaks.   His  reaction  to  learning  what  has  happened  to  his  daughter  conveys  the  overwhelming   emotion  of  the  situation:  


What fool  hath  added  water  to  the  sea     Or  brought  a  faggot  to  bright-­‐burning  Troy?     My  grief  was  at  the  height  before  [Marcus]  cam’st  [with  Lavinia],     And  now  like  Nilus  it  disdaineth  bounds.  (III.i.70-­‐73)   The  imagery  here  is  apt—and  noticeably  Ovidian:  the  Metamorphoses  frequently  use  the   word  “ardeo,”  which  literally  means  “to  burn  or  blaze,”  when  describing  passion.  Both   water  analogies  (the  sea  and  the  Nile)  emphasize  the  power  and  intensity  of  Titus’s   feelings.  In  classical  literature  (including  history  and  ethnography),  the  Nile  often   symbolizes  excess,  because  many  Greeks  and  Romans  believed  that  the  great  river  made   agriculture  easy  and,  thus,  made  the  Egyptians  wealthy.4  Later  in  the  scene,  Titus  alludes  to   this  water  imagery  again,  asking,  “Is  not  my  sorrow  deep,  having  no  bottom?  /  Then  be  my   passions  bottomless  with  them”  (III.i.221-­‐222).  Shakespeare,  then,  uses  these  images  from   nature  to  highlight  the  unstoppable,  overflowing  ferocity  of  Titus’s  emotional  state.     “In  the  moments  of  greatest  emotional  stress,”  writes  one  scholar,  “Ovid's  characters   seem  to  lose  not  only  individuality  but  even  humanity  as  if  sheer  intensity  of  feeling  made   them  indistinguishable  from  other  forms  of  life”  (Waith  42).  More  literally,  metamorphosis   in  Ovid’s  epic  can  turn  men  into  gods  or  beasts  (or  gods  into  men  or  beasts).  Titus   Andronicus  follows  a  downward  arc,  and  watches  unflinchingly  as  its  characters  become   beasts  driven  solely  by  their  passions.  Lavinia  is  forcibly  reduced  to  an  animal-­‐like  state   when  she  is  robbed  of  her  voice  (and,  for  that  matter,  her  opposable  thumbs).  Her  father,  in   turn,  is  reduced  to  an  animal  state  by  his  own  passion  for  vengeance.  Whereas  Titus   Andronicus  follows  humans  transformed  into  beasts  by  their  passion,  however,  Antony  and   Cleopatra  features  mortals  who  become  gods.   Like  Titus  Andronicus,  Antony  and  Cleopatra  is  an  Ovidian  tale  about  the   transformative  power  of  passion.  A  later,  more  mature  play,  however,  its  metamorphoses   are  more  complex.  In  some  ways,  Antony  has  already  undergone  his  metamorphosis  when   the  play  opens.  “Take  but  good  note,”  Philo  advises  the  audience  in  the  very  first  scene  “and   you  shall  see  in  him  /  The  triple  pillar  of  the  world  transformed  /  Into  a  strumpet’s  fool”   (I.i.12-­‐14).  Antony’s  passion  for  Cleopatra  has  changed  him,  and  the  whole  world  can  see  it.   The  fact  that  his  metamorphosis  is  explicitly  mentioned  so  soon  raises  two  questions  about   the  transformative  power  of  passion  in  Antony  and  Cleopatra.  First:  is  Antony’s  pre-­‐play   metamorphosis  definitive,  or  does  he  change  again  onstage?  Second:  is  Cleopatra  as   changed  by  their  love  as  Antony  is?   The  question  of  the  timeline  of  Antony’s  transformation  is  a  tricky  one,  because  his   identity  is  in  flux  throughout  the  play.  “Antony  is  always  someone  else’s  version  of  Antony,   never  himself,”  observes  one  scholar,  and  so  “he  both  exhibits  and  provokes  in  audiences  a   melancholic  longing  for  self-­‐identical  presence”  (Marshall  387).  Rome  and  Egypt,  youth  and   maturity,  duty  and  desire—all  are  at  war  within  Antony,  and  the  result  is  a  man  panicked   about  who  he  is.  “My  very  hairs  do  mutiny,”  he  laments,  “for  the  white  /  Reprove  the  brown   for  rashness,  and  they  them  /  For  fear  and  doting”  (III.xi.14-­‐16).  Elsewhere,  he  tells  Octavia,   “If  I  lose  mine  honor,  /  I  lose  myself,”  and  indeed  he  does  seem  to  have  lost  at  least  some  of   his  honor  (III.iv.24-­‐25).  Like  Marlowe’s  Edward  II,  Antony  has  avoided  and  ignored  his   responsibilities  as  a  leader  in  favor  of  spending  time  with  his  beloved.  Even  more  shameful:                                                                                                                             4  See,  e.g.,  Herodotus  2.14.  


he, once  a  valiant  soldier  and  statesman,  has  allowed  himself  to  be  ruled  by  a  woman.  To   many  of  his  fellow  Romans,  it  seems  that  the  once-­‐mighty  Antony  “hath  given  his  empire  /   Up  to  a  whore”  (III.vi.76-­‐77).  Observing  the  power  that  Cleopatra  wields  over  Antony,   Octavius  bitingly  remarks  that  Antony  “is  not  more  manlike  /  Than  Cleopatra,  nor  the   queen  of  Ptolemy  /  More  womanly  than  he”  (I.iv.5-­‐7).  To  some  extent,  then,  Antony  already   has  lost  himself,  and  he  knows  it.   “[E]veryone  wants  a  piece”  of  Antony,  Starks-­‐Estes  observes,  and  so  in  the  end  he   undergoes  “a  traumatic  shattering  of  the  self”  until  at  last  he  is  “torn  to  pieces”  (105).   Connecting  this  damage  to  that  of  Actaeon,  Pentheus,  and  Orpheus,  all  of  whom  are  literally   torn  to  pieces,  Starks-­‐Estes  argues  that  “[t]hrough  Antony  [...]  Shakespeare  foregrounds   [the]  uncertainty  of  the  self,  the  shifting  ground  of  subjectivity”  (105).  This  is  one  of  the   central  problems  with  Ovidian  metamorphosis:  once  a  metamorphosis  has  taken  place,   does  that  effectively  put  an  end  to  change  (with  the  person  permanently  stuck  as,  say,  a   tree  or  a  deer),  or  is  metamorphosis  more  fluid  than  that?  Although  most  of  the  stories  in   the  poem  end  once  their  characters  have  been  transformed,  Pythagoras’s  speech  in  the   final  book,  which  many  readers  and  scholars  have  considered  an  expression  of  the  epic’s   philosophical  underpinnings,5  suggests  that  metamorphosis  is  ongoing.  He  theorizes,  “nihil   est  toto,  quod  perstet,  in  orbe.  /  Cuncta  fluunt,  omnisque  vagans  formatur  imago”  (“Nothing   remains  constant  in  all  the  world.  /  All  is  flowing,  and  every  form  is  fashioned  already   wandering,”  15.177-­‐178).   Antony,  certainly,  is  flowing  and  wandering,  but  the  question  remains:  is  there  any   metamorphosis  for  Cleopatra?  Enobarbus,  trying  to  explain  why  Antony  could  never  leave   her,  states,  “Age  cannot  wither  her,  nor  custom  stale  /  Her  infinite  variety”  (II.ii.276-­‐277).   At  first  glance,  these  lines  might  seem  to  suggest  an  unchanging  figure,  but  “infinite  variety”   is  a  loaded  phrase.  William  Wolf  argues  that  Cleopatra  is  in  constant  emotional  flux,  and   that  in  a  play  with  a  vast  cast  spread  between  two  tumultuous  major  political  powers,  “the   only  permanent  fixture  [...]  is  change”  (Wolf  329-­‐331).  Whereas  one  can  trace  a  rough   outline  of  Antony’s  linear  progression  of  change,  at  least  up  until  the  point  where  the  play   begins,  with  Cleopatra  there  is  only  that  infinite  variety:  she  is  wild  and  unpredictable,   happy  one  moment  and  devastated  the  next,  consistent  only  in  her  intensity.  “I  have  seen  /   her  die  twenty  times,”  Enobarbus  remarks,  somewhat  caustically  (I.ii.156-­‐157).  If  Antony   (like  Titus  and  Lavinia,  like  so  many  of  Ovid’s  characters)  changes  over  time,  Cleopatra  is   metamorphosis  embodied,  all  that  change  all  at  once.  Whereas  Antony’s  linear  progression   of  change  is  dependent  upon  Cleopatra,  however,  her  infinite  variety  does  not  seem  to  be   dependent  upon  him.  It  is  not  so  much  her  passion  for  Antony  that  changes  her;  instead,  she   seems  always  to  have  possessed  this  intense,  yet  somehow  generalized  passion.     That  is  not,  however,  to  say  that  Antony  is  insignificant  to  Cleopatra’s   metamorphoses.  Pythagoras’s  speech  can  shed  light  on  the  play’s  denouement.  He  says:   nec  perit  in  toto  quicquam,  mihi  credite,  mundo,   sed  variat  faciemque  novat,  nascique  vocatur   incipere  esse  aliud,  quam  quod  fuit  ante,  morique   desinere  illud  idem.                                                                                                                             5  Hardie  (1995)  and  Segal  (2001),  for  example,  both  acknowledge  the  popularity  of  this  interpretation,   while  also  suggesting  new  ways  of  approaching  the  passage.  


Believe me,  in  this  whole  world  nothing  yet  has  passed  away,   But  it  changes  and  makes  new  its  shape,  and  we  say  something  is  “born”   When  it  begins  as  something  else,  which  already  existed  before,  and   We  call  it  “dead”  when  it  ceases  to  be  the  same  thing.  (15.254-­‐257)   As  if  to  prove  Pythagoras’s  speech,  after  he  has  finished,  Ovid  moves  on  to  describe  the   deaths  of  recent  historical  figures  (and,  ultimately,  himself)  as  yet  another  sort  of   metamorphosis:  apotheosis.  And  apotheosis  provides  a  useful  framework  for  thinking   about  the  changes  in  Antony  and  Cleopatra.  Even  though  their  deaths  feature  prominently   in  the  play’s  final  scenes,  both  Antony  and  Cleopatra  seem  not  really  to  die.  “I  am  fire  and   air,”  Cleopatra  announces  as  she  prepares  to  commit  suicide;  “my  other  elements  I  give  to   baser  life”  (V.ii.344-­‐345).  Once  both  are  dead,  Caesar  eulogizes  them  by  saying,  “No  grave   upon  the  earth  shall  clip  in  it  /  A  pair  so  famous”  (V.ii.430-­‐431).  From  the  beginning,   Shakespeare  suggests  that  there  is  something  divine  about  the  couple.  “Eternity  was  in  our   lips  and  eyes,”  Cleopatra  recalls  in  an  early  scene;  “Bliss  in  our  brows’  bent;  none  our  parts   so  poor  /  But  was  a  race  of  heaven”  (I.iii.44-­‐46).  Thus,  the  ending  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra   might  be  read  as  a  triumphant  final  metamorphosis  for  a  pair  of  “infinite  variety.”   There  is  a  final  metamorphosis  to  consider,  this  one  on  the  metatextual  level:  how   does  Shakespeare  use  Ovid—and  why?  Amidst  all  of  these  in-­‐text  transformations,  what  is   the  role  of  Shakespeare’s  re-­‐imagining  of  this  other  text?  The  answer  seems  to  be  different   in  each  play.  In  Titus  Andronicus,  metamorphosis  is  a  matter  of  violence—and,  perhaps   relatedly,  so  too  is  reading  and  engaging  with  texts.  Antony  and  Cleopatra,  on  the  other   hand,  presents  a  more  positive,  redemptive  vision  of  metamorphosis:  Shakespeare   recreates  two  figures  maligned  by  pro-­‐Caesar  Augustan  literature,  turning  them  instead   into  gods.   Titus  Andronicus  turns  its  plentiful  classical  allusions  into  a  “vile  hash,”  and   creativity  is  a  force  for  violence  and  horror.  Demetrius  and  Chiron  learn  from  literature,   and  so  they  add  even  more  brutality  to  their  recreation  of  the  tale  of  Tereus,  Procne,  and   Philomela,  cutting  off  Lavinia’s  hands  so  that  she,  unlike  Philomela,  cannot  reveal  her   rapists  via  tapestry.  Moreover,  all  of  the  metamorphoses  in  the  play  are  negative:  people   either  lose  limbs  or  grow  even  crueller  (or,  in  Titus’s  case,  both).  It  is  a  tremendously   pessimistic  play:  change  and  reading  can  both  lead  only  to  violence.  In  Antony  and   Cleopatra,  on  the  other  hand,  re-­‐creation  in  all  its  forms  takes  on  a  more  complex  character,   and  in  some  cases  is  a  positive  or  hopeful  force.  Here,  Shakespeare’s  classical  allusions  are   subtler,  no  longer  violent.  By  reinventing  Aeneas  and  Dido  in  the  figures  of  Antony  and   Cleopatra,  he  “parod[ies]  and  overturn[s]  Virgil”  (Starks-­‐Estes  112).  On  a  larger  scale,  by   re-­‐imagining  two  colossal  figures  who  found  themselves  on  the  ‘wrong  side  of  history,’   Shakespeare  is  reinventing  many  of  his  classical  sources  which  fit  into  the  category  of   Augustan  literature  (Starks-­‐Estes  98-­‐112).  In  doing  so,  he  vindicates  Ovid  himself,  who,   despite  being  considered  an  Augustan  poet,  was,  in  the  end,  exiled  for  his  work.  The  final   lines  of  the  Metamorphoses  read:   parte  tamen  meliore  mei  super  alta  perennis   astra  ferar,  nomenque  erit  indelebile  nostrum,   quaque  patet  domitis  Romana  potentia  terris,   ore  legar  populi,  perque  omnia  saecula  fama,   siquid  habent  veri  vatum  praesagia,  vivam.  


Yet as  for  the  better  part  of  me,  I  shall  be  carried,   Everlasting,  above  the  high  stars,  and  our  name  will  be  indestructible.   Wherever  Roman  power  extends  to  conquered  lands,   I  shall  be  read  by  the  mouth  of  the  people,  fame  through  all  ages,   And  if  the  prophecies  of  a  poet  have  any  truth  to  them,  I  shall  live.  (15.875-­‐879)   This,  of  course,  is  the  version  that  writers  and  readers  of  literature  want  to  believe:  instead   of  being  used  to  perpetuate  violence,  as  in  Titus  Andronicus,  the  better  parts  of  texts  can   endure  and  have  the  power  to  transform  people.  In  the  apotheosis  of  Antony  and  Cleopatra,   it  seems  that  at  least  sometimes,  Shakespeare  believed  so,  too.               Works  Cited   Baldwin,  Thomas  Whitfield.  William  Shakspere's  Small  Latine  &  Lesse  Greeke.  Vol.  1-­‐2.   Urbana:  University  of  Illinois  Press,  1944.  Print.   Bate,  Jonathan.  Shakespeare  and  Ovid.  Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1993.  Print.   Brinsley,  John.  Ludus  Literarius:  Or,  the  Grammar  Schoole.  London,  1612.   Cantarella,  Eva.  "Fathers  and  Sons  in  Rome."  The  Classical  World  96.3  (2003):  281-­‐ 98.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Hardie,  Philip.  "The  Speech  of  Pythagoras  in  Ovid  Metamorphoses  15:  Empedoclean   Epos."  The  Classical  Quarterly  45.1  (1995):  204-­‐14.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.    Hardin,  Richard  F.  "Ovid  in  Seventeenth-­‐Century  England."  Comparative  Literature  24.1   (1972):  44-­‐62.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Harris,  Bernice.  "Sexuality  as  a  Signifier  for  Power  Relations:  Using  Lavinia,  of   Shakespeare's  "Titus  Andronicus""  Criticism  38.3  (1996):  383-­‐406.  JSTOR.  Web.  3   Apr.  2016.      Lewis,  Charlton,  and  Charles  Short.  A  Latin  Dictionary.  Oxford:  Clarendon  Press,  1879.   Accessed  online  at  The  Perseus  Project.   Marshall,  Cynthia.  “Man  of  Steel  Done  Got  the  Blues:  Melancholic  Subversion  of  Presence  in   Antony  and  Cleopatra.”  Shakespeare  Quarterly  44.4  (1993):  385–408.  JSTOR.  Web.  3   Apr.  2016.   Miola,  Robert.  “Titus  Andronicus  and  the  Mythos  of  Shakespeare’s  Rome.”  Shakespeare   Studies  14  (1981):  85–98.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Mulryan,  John.  Through  a  Glass  Darkly:  Milton’s  Reinvention  of  the  Classical  Tradition.   Pittsburgh:  Duquesne  University  Press,  1996.  Print.   Ovid.  Metamorphoses.  Edited  by  Hugo  Magnus.  Gotha  (Germany):  1892.  Accessed  online  at   The  Perseus  Project.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Segal,  Charles  P.  “Intertextuality  and  Immortality:  Ovid,  Pythagoras  and  Lucretius  in   Metamorphoses  15.”  Materiali  E  Discussioni  per  L’analisi  Dei  Testi  Classici  (2001):   63-­‐101.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Shakespeare,  William.  Antony  and  Cleopatra.  Edited  by  Barbara  Mowat  and  Paul  Werstine.   Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.  


Shakespeare, William.  Titus  Andronicus.  Edited  by  Barbara  Mowat  and  Paul  Werstine.   Folger  Shakespeare  Library.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Spencer,  Terence.  “Shakespeare  and  the  Elizabethan  Romans.”  Shakespeare  Survey  10   (1957):  27-­‐38.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   St.  Hilaire,  Danielle  A.  “Allusion  and  Sacrifice  in  ‘Titus  Andronicus.’”  Studies  in  English   Literature,  1500-­‐1900  49.2  (2009):  311-­‐331.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Starks-­‐Estes,  Lisa.  Violence,  Trauma,  and  Virtus  in  Shakespeare’s  Roman  Poems  and  Plays:   Transforming  Ovid.  Palgrave  Macmillan,  2014.  Print.   Taylor,  A.  B.,  ed.  Shakespeare’s  Ovid.  Cambridge:  Cambridge  University  Press,  2000.  Print.   Waith,  Eugene.  “The  Metamorphosis  of  Violence  in  Titus  Andronicus.”  In  Shakespeare   Survey,  10:39–49.  Cambridge:  Cambridge  University  Press,  1957.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.   2016.   Willis,  Deborah.  “‘The  gnawing  vulture’:  Revenge,  Trauma  Theory,  and  Titus  Andronicus.”   Shakespeare  Quarterly  53.1  (2002):  21-­‐52.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.   Wright,  Neil.  “Creation  and  Recreation:  Medieval  Responses  to  Metamorphoses  1.5-­‐88.”  In   Ovidian  Transformations:  Essays  on  Ovid’s  Metamorphoses  and  Its  Reception,  edited   by  Philip  Hardie,  Alessandro  Barchiesi,  and  Stephen  Hinds,  68–44.  Cambridge:   Cambridge  Philological  Society,  1999.  Print.   Wolf,  William.  “‘New  Heaven,  New  Earth’:  The  Escape  from  Mutability  In  Antony  and   Cleopatra.”  Shakespeare  Quarterly  33.3  (1982):  328–35.  JSTOR.  Web.  3  Apr.  2016.      


The Practicality  of  the  Paranormal:     Disputing  Genre  Within  Miyabe  Miyuki’s  Detective  Fiction       Alexandra  Steele  Richardson  ‘16       I.  INTRODUCTION   As  an  author  whose  name  can  be  found  emblazoned  across  the  books  stacked  on  a   bestseller  table,  Miyuki  Miyabe  (宮部  みゆき)  is  a  rare  presence  on  an  academic   bibliography.    Primarily  known  for  her  mystery  novels,  Miyabe  is  generally  only   acknowledged  in  reference  to  her  status  as  a  recognizable  name  within  the  sea  of  Japan’s   saturated  detective  fiction  market.    This  is  not  to  dismiss  her  achievements  –  several  of  her   works  have  been  hailed  as  commercial  successes,  with  more  than  a  dozen  available  in   translation,  and  her  critical  accomplishments  include  numerous  national  and  international   awards  for  mystery  writing.    These  novels  often  utilize  the  detective  genre  to  draw   attention  to  social  issues  in  modern  Japan  through  settings  and  plots  that  revolve  around   the  tensions  between  cultural  trends  and  norms.    In  fact,  Miyabe  can  –  and  certainly   deserves  to  –  be  considered  a  literary  activist.    Her  portrayals  of  women  within  her  works   are  unfailingly  complex,  primarily  because  her  female  characters  are  often  at  the  root  of   those  issues  which  lie  closest  to  the  hearts  of  her  readers.    I  argue  that  the  efficacy  of   Miyabe’s  social  critiques  can  be  attributed  to  her  subversion  of  the  structure  of  both  the   detective  genre  and  popular  fiction  as  a  whole.    Miyabe  utilizes  paranormal  components   within  her  novels  to  challenge  the  formulaic  expectations  of  detective  fiction  and  create  a   lense  for  readers  to  reexamine  issues  of  individual  agency,  particularly  as  they  apply  to   women;  in  doing  so,  she  defies  entrenched  notions  of  popular  fiction  by  encouraging   readers  to  challenge  the  systemized  social  conventions  which  shape  Japanese  society.       Likely  because  of  her  engagement  with  popular  genre  fiction,  Miyabe’s  professional   and  market  success  has  done  very  little  to  validate  her  works  in  the  eyes  of  academics.     Whilst  the  study  of  popular  literature  continues  the  battle  to  define  itself  in  scholarly   circles  across  the  world,  Miyabe  faces  particular  challenges  in  regards  to  the  Japanese   literati.    In  her  study  of  genre  and  multiculturalism,  Laura  Behling  states  that  “assumptions   about  genre  inevitably  shape  reactions  to  a  text…  [determining  the]  categories  into  which   literary  texts  are  grouped,”  and  such  preconceptions  are  absolutely  evident  in  Japanese   literary  criticism  (419).    Edward  Mack,  writing  on  the  history  of  Japanese  literature,  states   that  the  codified  divide  separating  so-­‐called  “pure  literature”  (純文学  junbungaku)  from  its   supposed  antithesis,  popular  literature  (純文学  taishūbungaku),  is  exemplified  by  the   country’s  two  most  well-­‐known  literary  awards:  the  Akutagawa  Prize  for  pure  literature   and  the  Naoki  Prize  for  popular  literature  (293).    Matthew  C.  Strecher  expands  on  this   dynamic  by  tracing  the  internal  politics  which  led  to  creation  of  the  Akutagawa  Prize,  and   explains  that  the  establishment  of  the  Naoki  Prize  was  primarily  a  byproduct  of  the   Japanese  literati  “making  great  efforts  to  redefine  itself  in  such  a  way  that  it  might  both   enjoy  a  privileged  position  in  Japanese  letters,  and  at  the  same  time  emphasize  Japanese   ‘high’  culture  as  truly  and  specifically  Japanese”  (373).    This  ignoble  beginning  has  


continued to  plague  the  Naoki  Prize,  and  taishūbungaku  as  a  whole,  into  the  modern  day.     Decisions  over  whether  a  text  deserves  the  honored  designation  of  junbungaku  are  a   strictly  academic  consideration,  but  such  pronouncements  have  far-­‐reaching  consequences   for  how  a  text  will  be  considered  by  future  audiences  and  scholars.    In  asking  “how  many   rules  need  to  be  followed  for  inclusion  in  a  specific  genre,”  Behling  strikes  at  the  paradox  of   the  pure/popular  divide  in  Japan:  a  text  is  expected  to  meet  certain  standards  in  order  to   be  considered  pure  literature,  and  yet  no  one  is  able  to  actually  articulate  them  (422).    The   existence  of  pure  literature  in  Japan  is  utterly  reliant  on  the  country’s  tightly-­‐woven  literati   circle  to  sustain  it,  even  as  academics  both  in-­‐  and  outside  of  Japan  continue  to  clash  over   how  to  define  the  genre  (Strecher  359).    Edward  Seidensticker,  a  scholar  and  translator  of   many  of  those  authors  considered  to  be  paragons  of  junbungaku,  has  openly  criticized  it:   “the  whole  notion  of  pure  literature,  it  must  be  confessed,  has  about  it  something   introverted;  it  suggest  writers  writing  about  writers  for  the  sake  of  other  writers.    It   suggests  the  bundan,  the  literary  world,  tight  and  cozy  and  turned  in  upon  itself”  (181).     The  Akutagawa  Prize  serves  as  a  visible  extension  of  the  continuing  struggle  between   critics,  academics,  and  authors  to  shape  junbungaku,  while  taishūbungaku  is  largely   shunned  as  the  leftovers  of  unworthy  contenders.     This  perception  of  popular  literature  as  inferior  has  led  to  a  regrettable  gap  in  the   scholarly  consideration  accorded  to  authors  of  taishūbungaku  like  Miyabe  and  the   important  work  she  does  to  reframe  Japanese  society.    As  the  scholar  Fumiko  Mori   Halloran  succinctly  states,  academia  is  remarkably  slow  to  acknowledge  that  “consistently   popular  genres  or  themes…  can  serve  as  a  fairly  accurate  cultural  barometer”  (50).    The   Naoki  Prize,  then,  is  an  attempt  to  take  the  temperature  of  Japanese  society  and  perhaps   predict  its  direction,  and  yet  the  Naoki’s  designation  as  an  established  literary  award  for  a   traditionally  scorned  genre  is  somewhat  of  a  contradiction.    The  ability  to  “[relate]   thematically  and  ideologically  with  the  ‘masses,’”  as  Strecher  states,  is  an  essential  element   of  popular  literature  which  is  largely  mitigated  by  a  selection  committee  that  is  entirely   comprised  of  bundan  critics  and  Naoki  alumni  (363).    Thus,  it  is  reasonable  to  attribute   Miyabe’s  academic  anonymity  to  the  long-­‐standing  bias  against  the  genre  in  which  she   specializes,  as  is  evidenced  by  the  few  available  studies  seeking  to  evaluate  her  novels.     Although  Miyabe  has  spread  her  writing  across  many  different  subgenres  of  popular   fiction,  in  particular  her  detective  novels  are  held  to  particular  standards  which  are   considered  to  be  representative  of  detective  fiction  as  a  whole.    While  these  standards   certainly  vary  across  cultures  and  generations,  “requir[ing]  an  understanding  of  the  social   context  in  which  the  genres  were  produced,”  there  remains  some  uniformity  in  the   specifications  Miyabe’s  critics  have  used  to  interpret  her  works  (Behling  414).    The  most   essential  of  these,  as  summarized  in  Amanda  Seaman’s  2004  survey  of  female  detective   fiction,  Bodies  of  Evidence:  Women,  Society,  and  Detective  Fiction  in  1990s  Japan,  is  the   tenant  that  detective  fiction  “moves  inexorably  from  stasis  to  disruption  to  settlement  [so   that]  no  matter  what  problems  come  to  light…  they  can  be  resolved  only  within  the   parameters  of  the  preexisting  social  structure”  (8).    Above  all  else,  normalcy  must  be   restored  in  a  way  that  preserves  the  validity  of  society,  a  stipulation  which  would  suggest   that  Miyabe’s  textual  critiques,  by  nature  of  her  genre,  are  limited  in  their  power  to   promote  a  progressive  ideology.      This  relationship  is  confirmed  in  John  G.  Cawelti’s   discussion  of  genre  and  popular  fiction  in  Mystery,  Violence,  and  Popular  Culture,  which   articulates  the  role  of  the  detective  as  a  resuscitator  of  the  public’s  faith  in  the  collective:  


Crime… is  handled  without  upsetting  society’s  fundamental  institutions  or  its   world-­‐view.     When   he/she   solves   the   crime,   the   detective   reaffirms   the   fundamental   soundness   of   the   social   order   by   revealing   how   the   crime   has   resulted   from   the   specific   and   understandable   motives   of   particular   individuals;   crime   happens   but   is   not   fundamental   or   endemic   to   the   society.     In   other   words,   the   detective   reveals   to   us   by   his   actions   that   society,   however  corrupt  or  unjust  in  may  seem,  still  contains  the  intelligence  and  the   means  to  define  and  exorcize  these  evils.  (Mystery,  Violence  286)   In  the  context  of  this  definition,  it  would  not  be  unreasonable  to  question  whether  Miyabe   is  actually  a  detective  novelist  at  all  –  each  of  the  novels  examined  in  this  study  (The   Sleeping  Dragon,  Crossfire,  The  Devil’s  Whisper,  and  Shadow  Family),  because  of  their   inclusion  of  the  paranormal  themes  that  this  paper  will  discuss,  destabilizes  what  scholars   have  determined  to  be  the  central  pillar  of  popular  detective  fiction.    In  doing  so,  Miyabe   defies  a  tradition  which  Sari  Kanawa,  a  literary  critic  of  Japanese  detective  writers  and   literature,  claims  “Japanese  detective  writers  used  [in]  the  framework  of  the  genre  to   package  and  disseminate  their  ideas,”  and  this  perception  is  predominant  in  current   scholarship  on  Miyabe  (10).    However,  the  impulse  to  unceremoniously  demote  Miyabe   from  her  position  as  Japan’s  Princess  of  Mysteries  is  itself  reflective  of  how  blind  devotion   to  rules  of  genre  immediately  limits  our  ability  to  approach  and  analyze  her  works  (Seaman   14).      In  order  to  appreciate  the  ways  in  which  Miyabe  either  engages  with  or  completely   disregards  the  framework  of  the  utopian  “return  to  normalcy”  which  is  enshrined  in  the   detective  novel,  flexibility  is  essential.   While  scholars  such  as  Seaman  have,  with  admirable  thoroughness  and   consideration,  completed  comparatively  conservative  examinations  of  Miyabe  as  a  genre   author,  I  maintain  that  Miyabe’s  works  are  best  understood  through  the  ways  in  which  they   flout  the  detective  tradition  –  namely,  through  the  introduction  of  the  paranormal  in  order   to  destabilize  the  reader’s  perception  of  reality.    Her  engagement  with  the  genre’s  “ability   to  carry  serious  social  commentary  and…  malleability  within  its  familiar  form  and  style,”  as   the  author  and  scholar  J.  Madison  Davis  writes,  does  not  reflect  a  limit  to  how  social   critique  functions  within  her  texts  (40).    If  authors  like  Miyabe  have  already  “found  ways  to   question  the  status  quo  through  the  genre  without  having  to  change  its  structures,”  then   any  effort  on  the  part  of  the  author  to  write  outside  of  these  boundaries  deserves  the   particular  attention  of  critics  and  scholars  (Seaman  22).    In  essays  written  during  her  time   as  a  Naoki  Prize  judge,  Miyabe  herself  defends  the  power  of  “magic”  (魔法  mahou)  or,  as  it   is  better  called  here,  “the  paranormal”  in  expanding  the  function  of  a  genre  when  it  is   utilized  with  deliberate  purpose  (“Mangan…”;  “Edo…”).    There  is  a  perceptible  activist   agenda  reflected  in  how  Miyabe  employs  the  trope  of  ordinary  people  learning  (or  failing)   to  cope  with  strange  and  often  inexplicable  paranormal  abilities.    The  presence  of   paranormal  plot  devices  deliberately  undermines  the  emphasis  on  logic  and  “the  unique   formal  pattern…  [of  the]  double  and  duplicitous  plot  [seeking  to]  tantalize  and  deceive  the   reader  while,  at  the  same  time,  inconspicuously  planting…  clues”  which  Cawelti  identifies   as  essential  to  the  detective  narrative,  and  yet  these  abnormal  elements  are  integral  to  each   of  the  detective  stories  analyzed  in  this  study  (284).    By  eroding  the  reader’s  confidence  in   their  own  discernment,  it  becomes  that  much  easier  for  Miyabe  to  shape  how  this  new   awareness  is  then  reconstructed  for  the  purpose  of  analyzing  social  institutions.    Instances  


of telepathy,  teleportation,  pyrokinesis,  hypnosis,  and  illusion  are  all  prominent  examples   of  how  the  paranormal  arises  in  Miyabe’s  works  and  continuously  reveals  information,   identities,  and  motives  long  before  the  detective  character  manages  to  connect  the  dots.     This  drastically  alters  the  relationship  between  the  reader  and  their  expectations  for  the   novel  –  as  long  as  the  boundaries  of  reality  remain  suspended  by  the  introduction  of   abnormal  forces,  neither  the  reader  nor  the  detective  have  any  hope  of  telling  fact  from   falsehood.    As  we  sporadically  reassemble  our  understanding  of  the  world  in  which  these   unfamiliar  forces  act,  our  evaluation  of  the  characters  and  their  anxieties  is  completely   transformed.     II.  THE  SLEEPING  DRAGON   The  paranormal  aspects  of  Miyabe’s  1995  novel  The  Sleeping  Dragon  are  presented   relatively  early  on;  however,  this  introduction  is  preceded  by  several  chapters  of  apparent   normalcy  which  Miyabe  uses  to  superficially  engage  with  the  stereotypical  detective   narrative.    The  Sleeping  Dragon  opens  with  investigative  reporter  and  de-­‐facto  detective   Shogo  Kosaka  stumbling  across  both  a  mystery  and  its  apparent  solution  in  quick   succession.    Kosaka  meets  a  high-­‐school  student,  Shinji  Inamura,  just  in  time  to  discover   that  a  crime  has  occurred  nearby.    The  two  exchange  awkward  small  talk  for  a  few  pages   before  encountering  what  appears  to  be  the  real  substance  of  the  story:  a  manhole  cover   has  been  illegally  removed  during  a  typhoon,  and  it  is  later  confirmed  that  a  local  toddler   was  swept  inside  and  drowned  as  a  result.    Kosaka’s  suspicions  are  aroused  when  Shinji’s   subsequent  distress  becomes  apparent:  “He’d  been  white  as  a  sheet…  and  he  hadn’t  been   right  since  then.    He  must  have  gone  back  to  the  scene;  he  had  been  unable  to  stay  away.     And  now  he  was  ill  from  the  guilt”  (Sleeping  37).    By  this  point,  Kosaka  has  established   himself  as  the  detective  character  seeking  to  fulfil  his  role  by  catching  the  culprit   responsible  for  the  child’s  death,  and  he  follows  the  pattern  as  he  works  to  extract  a   confession  from  Shinji  that  will  restore  order  and  justice  to  the  narrative.    In  attempting  to   fulfill  his  investigative  duty  to  “make  sense  of  the  world”  through  the  application  of   “empirical  reasoning  and  rational  thinking,”  Kosaka  begins  a  process  of  interrogation  that   seems  like  a  promising  start  to  another  formulaic,  if  entertaining,  mystery  story  (Kanawa  8,   7).    However,  when  he  confronts  Shinji  to  accuse  him  of  responsibility,  the  logic  of  Kosaka’s   careful  deductions  is  utterly  disrupted  by  the  revelation  that  Shinji  is  telepathic  –  more   specifically,  he  can  read  the  memories  and  emotions  of  people  in  close  proximity  and  even   “scan”  objects  for  an  imprint  of  their  owner  by  touching  them  (Sleeping  48).    Shinji’s   abilities  effectively  nullify  the  need  for  a  detective,  and  the  narrative  follows  accordingly  as   Kosaka  turns  his  attention  to  the  internal  debate  over  whether  Shinji  is  telling  the  truth  –   and  what  Kosaka  will  do  if  he  is.    With  no  actual  mystery  to  distract  readers,  they  instead   work  in  conjunction  with  Kosaka  to  process  this  monumental  shift  in  their  understanding   of  reality.    The  struggle  to  come  to  terms  with  the  existence  of  telepathy  quickly  supersedes   the  scope  and  importance  of  the  mystery  which  initially  appeared  to  be  the  core  of  the   novel.    The  case  of  the  manhole  cover  primarily  serves  as  the  lead-­‐up  to  a  paranormal   situation  which  will  require  Kosaka  to  question  his  understanding  of  reality  and  come  to   terms  with  a  new  understanding  of  the  world,  an  experience  which  leaves  him  completely   wrong-­‐footed:  “I  no  longer  knew  what  was  possible  and  what  was  impossible”  (201).    The   inability  to  have  faith  in  any  expected  reassurance  of  fact  incites  a  hypervigilance  towards   objects  and  people  who  would  otherwise  be  nothing  more  than  scenery.    The  reader  is  


consequently empowered  to  break  away  from  Kosaka  as  the  authoritative  spokesman  of   the  detective  framework  in  order  to  consider  what  other  aspects  of  the  novel,  and  the   society  it  depicts,  need  to  be  reconsidered.     While  Kosaka  and  readers  alike  grope  blindly  through  the  process  of  reevaluating   their  definition  of  reality,  Miyabe  places  specific  and  deliberate  limits  on  how  the   paranormal  functions  within  The  Sleeping  Dragon  which  draw  explicit  parallels  between   Shinji’s  telepathy  and  gendered  power  dynamics  in  Japanese  society.    Although  Shinji  is   primarily  shown  using  his  powers  to  help  people  like  Kosaka,  readers  are  prevented  from   conflating  Shinji’s  telepathy  with  his  good  intensions.    Shinji  recognizes  that  although  he   may  only  seek  to  help  people,  there  is  always  the  potential  for  abuse:  “The  problem  is  when   your  psychic  power  is  so  great  that  you  can’t  ignore  it,  and  it  won’t  just  go  back  to  sleep.     Unless  you  work  to  control  that  power,  it’ll  finish  you  off”  (45).    Shinji’s  concerns  take  on   another  dimension  of  meaning  when  Miyabe  establishes  a  correlation  between  the   maturation  of  his  psychic  abilities,  sex,  and  eventually  gender.  This  first  occurs  when  Shinji   tells  Kosaka  that  “‘it  turns  out  that  the  power  starts  revving  up  at  age  eleven  or  twelve…  It’s   kind  of  like  a  secondary  sexual  characteristic…  When  a  child  reaches  puberty  he  can   understand  it  himself’”  (45).    Shinji  describes  the  burden  of  his  abilities  in  terms  of  how   much  of  his  behavior  is  shaped  by  his  mental  and  emotional  awareness  of  the  people   around  him:  “It  was  how  we  managed  to  get  on  with  our  lives  –  we  didn’t  always  have  to   listen  to  the  way  people  really  felt”  (78).    It  is  impossible,  Shinji  finds,  to  live  his  own  life   when  he  is  constantly  berated  with  unsolicited  feedback  and  expectations.       Naoya  Oda  is  another  psychic  and  friend  of  Shinji’s  who,  being  several  years  older,   has  been  forced  by  his  powers  to  isolate  himself  from  personal  relationships  with  women.     However,  Miyabe  frames  this  difficulty  in  terms  that  focus  on  the  power  imbalance  which   Naoya’s  abilities  create  between  himself  and  his  girlfriends.    Shinji  describes  Naoya’s   experience  with  an  unnamed  prostitute  in  markedly  provocative  terms:  “The  whole  time   they  were  doing  it,  the  woman  was  thinking  about  how  awful  it  was…  They  say  ignorance  is   bliss,  and  it’s  true  that  we’re  able  to  muddle  through  life  because  we  don’t  try  to   understand  everything”  (101).    It  becomes  a  struggle  for  the  reader  to  continue   sympathizing  with  Naoya  after  realizing  that  his  apparent  suffering  stems  from  being   forced  to  actually  recognize  the  pain  of  the  woman  he  is  exploiting.    However,  his   experiences  are  remarkably  demonstrative  of  Cawelti’s  suggestion  that  “women,  raised   from  childhood  to  be  exceptionally  alert  to  social  cues,  [have]  a  special  gift”  in  terms  of   their  sensitivity  to  social  cues  and  “manners”  (278).    Naoya  and  Shinji’s  telepathy  forces   them  to  live  within  a  world  where  their  lives  are  shaped  by  the  emotions  of  those  around   them,  and  ultimately  they  are  at  the  mercy  of  a  power  which  dominates  how  they  are  able   to  function  in  society.    This  struggle  may  seem  unique  when  superficially  tied  to  their   telepathy,  but  it  is  a  battle  which  female  characters  endure,  fight,  and  often  lose  over  the   course  of  the  novel.   Initially,  there  may  seem  to  be  an  overall  dismissal  of  the  female  voice  in  The   Sleeping  Dragon  –  all  the  women  are  secondary  characters  at  best  –  but  the  struggle  for   autonomy  which  Shinji  describes  in  terms  of  his  paranormal  abilities  directly  corresponds   to  the  plight  of  female  characters  and  helps  to  bring  their  concerns  to  the  reader’s   attention.    Through  Kosaka,  readers  are  introduced  to  two  women  whose  lives  are  similarly   restricted  according  to  the  limitations  imposed  upon  them  by  Japanese  society.    The  first,   Kanako  Mizuno,  is  a  twenty  year-­‐old  college  graduate  working  with  Kosaka  at  the  magazine  


office as  a  secretary.    Her  increasingly  aggressive  attempts  to  wrangle  a  date  out  of  the   disinterested  Kosaka  reveal  that  Kanako’s  interest  in  Kosaka  has  more  to  do  with  her  fears   of  social  censure  than  any  sort  of  genuine  interest  in  him.    The  majority  of  their  interactions   end  in  disappointment  and  even  anger  on  her  part.    When  Kosaka  protests  an  assignment   to  interview  the  head  of  a  local  women’s  rights  group,  Kanako  furiously  answers  “‘Kosaka,   you’re  one  of  the  most  hardheaded  reporters  we’ve  got…  Don’t  pretend  you  don’t  think  of   me  as  a  tea  server-­‐cum-­‐copy  machine.    Typical  male  chauvinist’”  (Sleeping  73).    When   Kosaka  then  promises  to  make  “an  honorable  woman”  out  of  her  if  she  is  still  single  by  the   time  she  turns  thirty,  Kanako  snarls  back  “‘honorable  woman?    Who  said  I  was   dishonorable?    That’s  exactly  what  I  mean,  you  moron!’”  (73).    Kosaka  is  pathetically   confused  by  this  response,  and  the  exchange  magnifies  the  extent  to  which  Kanako  is  both   aware  of  and  struggles  against  the  social  expectations  routinely  dumped  on  young,   unmarried  woman.    Kosaka’s  state  of  blithe  ignorance  towards  the  burden  Kanako  carries   regarding  marriage  is  a  luxury  that  is  exclusive  to  him  as  a  male.      When  his  co-­‐worker  and   friend  Goro  Ikoma  encourages  Kosaka  to  ask  her  out,  he  declines  on  the  basis  of  her  age,   protesting  “that  was  why  I  enjoyed  teasing  her;  she  seemed  safe”  (76).    Despite  her  youth,   however,  Kanako  is  clearly  already  feeling  the  pressure  to  succeed  at  settling  down.    Ikoma   comments  that  “she’s  probably  got  a  friend  who  just  married  a  man  a  lot  older  than  her.     She’ll  snap  out  of  it,’”  dismissing  her  determination  as  an  attempt  at  one-­‐upmanship  rather   than  a  reflection  of  the  expectations  which  Kanako  must  strive  to  fulfill  (110).    Ikoma   continues  on  to  joke  that  “if  it  were  some  of  the  younger  guys,  they  wouldn’t  let  the   opportunity  pass,  and  I’d  take  her  aside  and  warn  her  about  the  evils  of  men.    I’d  make  sure   she  knew  that  she’d  be  the  one  to  suffer  any  consequences”  (110).    Despite  her  role  as  the   romantic  pursuer,  Kanako  is  powerless  no  matter  what;  she  must  either  wait  for  Kosaka  to   deign  to  accept  her  so  that  she  can  finally  achieve  respectable  wifehood,  or  she  will  be   snapped  up  and  discarded  by  the  young  men  who  have  no  similar  obligation  to  become   husbands.   Kanako’s  future  looks  especially  bleak  when  readers  get  an  idea  of  what  she  has  to   look  forward  to  should  she  “succeed”  in  finding  a  husband.    Kosaka’s  ex-­‐fiancé,  Saeko   Kawasaki,  appears  to  have  exceeded  all  of  the  expectations  which  continue  to  plague   Kanako.    Prior  to  even  meeting  Saeko,  readers  are  informed  by  Kosaka  that  “she  had  made   the  choice  that  was  right  for  her  [in  breaking  up  with  him],”  a  conclusion  which  he  reaches   based  solely  on  the  knowledge  that  she  is  married  to  a  wealthy  man  and  pregnant  (180).     However,  from  the  moment  that  readers  become  privy  to  the  details  of  her  supposedly   perfect  husband  and  lifestyle,  Miyabe  systematically  tears  down  all  of  Saeko’s  supposed   accomplishments  in  order  to  invalidate  this  misleading  impression.    Her  husband,  Akio   Kawasaki,  is  described  as  someone  who  acts  “the  way  you’d  expect  the  man  of  the  house  to   behave,”  surrounded  by  indications  of  wealth  and  unabashedly  controlling  of  his  wife’s   private  life  (181).    After  introducing  his  personal  secretary  and  mistress  Reiko  Miyake,   Kawasaki  comments  “‘I  ask  Reiko  to  check  the  mail  that  comes  to  the  house.    When  my  wife   receives  mail  without  a  return  address,  for  example,  Reiko  is  careful  to  run  them  by  me   first,’”  revealing  an  arrogance  which  makes  even  Kosaka  uncomfortable  (183).    We  soon   discover  that  Saeko’s  marriage  is  founded  on  her  husband’s  mercenary  willingness  to   sacrifice  her  in  order  to  benefit  himself  by  cutting  a  deal  with  his  business-­‐tycoon  father:   “‘If  he  kept  the  affair  discreet,  he  could  carry  on  with  his  secretary  as  long  as  he  liked’”   (209).    From  the  moment  of  its  inception,  the  relationship  between  Saeko  and  Kawasaki  


has been  rooted  in  deceit  –  however,  blame  for  this  cannot  be  entirely  attributed  to   Kawasaki’s  greed.    Saeko  herself  plays  an  enormous  part  in  actively  prolonging  the  illusion   of  their  marriage  in  order  to  protect  “the  pictures  in  the  album  of  her  ideal  life,”  even  going   so  far  as  to  ignore  Kawasaki’s  demands  for  a  divorce  (294).    It  is  only  after  she  refuses  to   acknowledge  his  demands  that  Kawasaki  decides  to  have  Saeko  killed,  and  although  his   plot  is  thwarted,  their  relationship  dies  a  long-­‐awaited  death.  In  her  desperation  to   preserve  the  marriage  that  she,  like  Kanako,  has  been  taught  to  value  above  all  else,  Saeko’s   life  is  destroyed  by  the  gender  roles  which  inform  her  behavior.   The  social  pressures  which  shape  the  lives  of  women  like  Kanako  and  Saeko  in  Japan   on  a  daily  basis  are  considered  oddities  when  experienced  by  male  characters,  and  as  a   result  we  see  how  these  pressures  are  expressed  in  terms  of  the  paranormal  and  serve  to   conclusively  empower  Shinji  and  Naoya  while  women  like  Kanako  and  Saeko  are   victimized.    Naoya  and  Shinji  experience  difficulties  with  intimacy  of  any  sort  due  to  the   telepathic  feedback  they  receive  from  their  partners.    However,  these  difficulties  are   described  by  Shinji  as  a  struggle  not  to  take  advantage  of  their  power:  “Sometimes  I’m  full   of  pride  –  it’s  hard  not  to  be  when  you  know  what  other  people  are  thinking.    It  makes  me   feel  special  and  unusual,  and  that’s  not  good’”  (Sleeping  205).    Both  Shinji  and  the  readers   come  to  understand  that  although  Shinji  himself  might  be  putting  an  admirable  amount  of   effort  into  not  exploiting  his  power  over  others,  it  is  a  difficult  balance  that  can  be  easily   disrupted.    Naoya  and  Shinji  are  never  victims  of  their  power  insomuch  as  they  are   accomplices  in  allowing  their  own  arrogance  to  take  control  of  when  and  how  their   telepathy  is  applied.    When  they  fail  to  resist  the  temptation  to  indulge  in  their  power,  it  is   the  people  around  them  –  particularly  the  women  –  who  are  victimized.    Several  of  Naoya’s   relationships  ended  when  his  girlfriend  because  subconsciously  cognizant  of  the  control  he   had  over  them,  and  Miyabe  makes  it  clear  that  there  is  a  dangerous  element  of   manipulation  in  Naoya’s  abilities  that  his  female  partners  want  to  escape,  as  is  shown  when   Naoya  admits  that  his  girlfriend  “said  it  made  her  nervous  that  it  always  seemed  like  I  knew   what  she  was  thinking”  (Sleeping  106).    There  is  no  romanticization  of  Naoya  as  the  perfect   man  who  can  read  the  desires  of  his  partner  and  provide  them;  instead,  telepathy  serves  as   an  unorthodox  but  effective  portrayal  of  the  power  which  men  hold  over  women  in   Japanese  society.    As  we  have  seen,  women  such  as  Kanko  and  Seiko  are  made  vulnerable   by  gendered  standards  of  behavior,  and  as  a  result  men  are  able  to  profit  from  and   victimize  them.     III.  CROSSFIRE   The  narrative  of  the  1998  novel  Crossfire  is  structured  as  if  its  primary  concern  is   the  interaction  between  two  classic  detective  archetypes  –  a  criminal  and  the  cop  hunting   them  –  only  to  completely  negate  this  assumption  in  the  most  flagrant  way  possible.    In   place  of  the  usual  detective  figure  set  on  an  inevitable  collision  course  with  a  mysterious   criminal,  readers  are  immediately  introduced  to  the  criminal  from  the  very  start  of  the   novel.    More  than  that,  they  are  also  fully  acquainted  with  her  history  and  motive  because   both  are  fully  narrated.    In  sacrificing  the  tension  of  the  traditional  whodunit  and  whydunit,   Miyabe  releases  her  audience  from  the  bonds  of  the  detective  formula  for  the  sake  of   examining  how  imbalanced  power  dynamics,  both  paranormal  and  social,  emerge  around   issues  of  gender  (Cawelti  133).      


In the  first  pages  of  the  novel,  the  reader  is  introduced  to  Junko  Aoki,  a  young   woman  whose  pyrokinesis  enables  her  to  set  fires  at  will,  just  in  time  to  watch  her  commit   the  first  crime  of  the  novel.    Unlike  The  Sleeping  Dragon,  Miyabe  wastes  no  time  in  unveiling   Junko’s  identity  and  motivations  in  order  to  focus  on  Junko’s  internal  dilemma  regarding   her  powers.    Whereas  Naoya  and  Shinji  are  ultimately  empowered  by  their  abilities,  Junko   struggles  with  her  fear  that  she  is  being  consumed  and  controlled  by  her  powers  as  she   initiates  a  string  of  vigilante  executions.    Her  body  count  grows  rapidly,  and  Junko  soon   comes  to  fear  the  way  “her  momentum  had  [become]  stronger  than  any  inclination  to  care   what  happened  to  [her  victims]”  (Crossfire  142).    She  begins  to  question  whether  her   actions  are  actually  justified,  and  this  doubt  completely  undermines  her  sense  of  purpose.     Although  “she’d  always  believed  that  she  had  the  power  because  she  had  to  competence  to   use  it  well…  that  she  had  the  right  to  use  it  freely  because  this  power  had  been  given  to   her,”  Junko’s  increasingly  gratuitous  use  of  pyrokinesis  begins  to  erode  her  sense  of  self   (242).    While  Junko  may  view  herself  as  an  instrument  of  justice,  without  her  own  will  and   beliefs  to  guide  the  fire,  it  quickly  becomes  an  aggressive  threat  to  her  autonomy.    Her   pyrokinesis  gradually  degenerates  into  unmanageable  wildness,  and  at  several  points   Junko  cannot  determine  if  it  was  actually  her  decision  to  execute  the  criminals  she   encounters,  or  if  the  fire  took  control  of  her  because  “the  power  had  gotten  a  taste  of   [murder]  and  wanted  more.    It  was  urging  Junko  on”  (190).    Junko’s  struggle  for  autonomy   against  her  powers  intensifies  over  the  course  of  the  novel,  and  it  becomes  obvious  when   she  can  no  longer  exert  any  amount  of  control  over  them.    After  confronting  and  killing  a   thug,  Junko  is  left  with  the  choice  to  kill  his  girlfriend,  Hikari,  as  well.    Junko  decides  against   it,  but  soon  realizes  “I  don’t  want  to  kill  her,  but  the  power  does.    Who  is  making  the  decisions   here?    Me,  or  the  power?”  (207).    Her  question  is  answered  when  she  ends  up  murdering  the   girl  regardless  of  her  resolution:    “Junko’s  control  was  shattered  by  the  fear  and  hatred  in   [Hikari’s]  eyes.    The  power  triumphantly  made  its  escape  and  went  dancing  out  after   Hikari”  (213).    While  the  paranormal  powers  seen  in  The  Sleeping  Dragon  are  almost   tyrannical  in  the  strength  they  provide  to  their  hosts,  Junko  is  clearly  a  victim  of  her  own   abilities.     Miyabe  also  connects  these  powers  to  gendered  and  specifically  sexual  victimization   for  female  characters.  The  only  other  pyrokinetic  in  Crossfire  is  a  girl  named  Kaori  Kurata   who  reads  almost  exactly  like  a  young,  vulnerable  Junko.    Kaori  has  yet  to  gain  any  sort  of   control  over  her  powers,  and  as  a  result  she  is  the  subject  of  an  arson  investigation  for  the   mysterious  fires  that  continuously  spring  up  in  her  vicinity.    As  readers  learn  the  backstory   of  how  Kaori’s  powers  have  emerged,  Miyabe  emphasizes  that  her  abilities  (and,  we  can   thus  infer,  Junko’s)  have  clear  connotations  regarding  gender  and  exploitation  by  outside   forces.    In  an  interesting  parallel  to  The  Sleeping  Dragon,  Kaori’s  powers  are  also  catalyzed   by  her  sexual  maturity.    Her  mother  recounts  that  “‘two  years  ago,  when  she  was  eleven,   Kaori  had  her  first  period.    It  was  right  after  that,  that  she  began  starting  fires’”  (Crossfire   234).    Unlike  other  paranormal  abilities  found  in  Crossfire,  pyrokinesis  carries  ties  to   gender  as  well  as  sexuality.    Mrs.  Kurata  specifically  confirms  that  Kaori’s  powers  are   inherited  from  the  women  on  her  side  of  the  family  because  they  never  manifest  in  male   offspring  (228).    In  addition  to  these  strongly  gendered  connections,  readers  must  also   consider  the  danger  Kaori  faces  from  her  father,  whose  only  interest  in  his  daughter  lies  in   how  she  can  be  used  to  profit  himself:    


“He was   thrilled   when   Kaori   began   setting   fires,   and   said   that   his   wait   had   been  worth  it.    He  said  that  he  had  always  wanted  a  child  like  her,  and  that   she  would  become  some  sort  of  savior.    Kaori  could  burn  a  hundred  people  to   death  all  at  once  and  never  leave  a  shred  of  evidence.    He  said  that  it  was  her   God-­‐given   duty   to   get   rid   of   monsters,   people   that   the   world   would   be   better   off   without;   it   was   what   she   was   born   to   do.     What   sort   of   father   would   force   his  own  child  to  fulfill  that  sort  of  obligation?    Kaori  is  a  human  being!”  (236-­‐ 37)   The  themes  of  helplessness  in  the  face  of  their  abilities  and  the  risks  to  which  Junko  and   Kaori  are  exposed  due  to  their  gender  and  skills  illustrate  a  troubling  dynamic  where  men   derive  power  from  the  manipulation  and  even  enslavement  of  women.   This  disturbing  trend  of  women  who  struggle  against  a  loss  of  autonomy  is   magnified  by  the  predatory  presence  of  men  who  press  their  advantages  to  benefit  at   women’s  expense.    Here  again,  Miyabe  indicates  that  this  issue  is  deserving  of  further   examination  by  wrapping  her  social  critique  within  the  paranormal  aspects  of  personal   relationships.      Koichi  Kido  is  the  first  and  only  person  with  whom  Junko  has  any  sort  of   mutually  romantic  connection,  yet  from  the  moment  he  first  approaches  her  as  a   representative  of  a  paranormal  vigilante  organization  called  The  Guardians  –  the  same   organization  which  Kaori’s  father  belongs  to  –  readers  can  perceive  that  both  his  abilities   and  motivation  are  the  complete  antithesis  of  those  that  drive  Junko.    Koichi  is  able  to   completely  suppress  the  will  of  his  targets  and  control  their  bodies,  and  he  glorifies  in  his   power.    At  one  point  he  brags  to  Junko  about  his  mission  to  execute  a  pedophile:  “‘[I]  make   him  get  a  good  grip  on  a  cleaver,  and  give  him  a  push  –  cut  [off  something]  that’s  not  for   your  delicate  ears,  sweetheart’”  (256).    He  is  unapologetically  violent,  and  yet  Koichi   maintains  that  it  is  a  necessary  cruelty,  asking  “‘what’s  wrong  with  it?    If  you  take  the  long   view,  it’s  helping  him,’”  and  then  immediately  proceeds  to  flirt  with  Junko  in  order  to   redirect  the  conversation  when  she  expresses  doubt  at  this  sociopathic  logic.    Koichi’s  use   of  his  charm  as  a  weapon  seems  redundant  in  light  of  his  abilities,  but  because  he  is  never   overt  in  asserting  his  dominance,  it  is  not  until  the  very  end  of  the  novel  when  he  shoots   Junko  that  the  extent  of  his  callousness  is  revealed.     The  gradual  development  of  Junko’s  relationship  with  Koichi  is  used  by  Miyabe  to   reveal  the  depth  of  his  predilection  for  manipulation.    During  their  first  encounter,  Koichi   steers  Junko  into  a  fashion  salon  for  a  makeover,  commenting  that  “‘a  change  of  clothing   will  make  you  look  so  much  more  attractive.    It’s  such  a  shame  when  someone  with  your   natural  beauty  doesn’t  dress  up  a  bit”  (264).    Although  Junko  at  first  resists  wearing  the   designer  clothes  he  buys  for  her,  telling  him  that  “‘I  can’t  take  anything  I  have  no  business   receiving,’”  she  eventually  relents  and  adapts  her  wardrobe  to  his  expectations  (310).     Koichi  utilizes  their  relationship  to  subtly  subvert  Junko’s  independence  and  establish   control  over  her  in  the  same  way  that  he  uses  his  powers.    Most  alarming  is  how  both  Junko   and  the  reader  remain  oblivious  to  his  machinations  for  the  majority  of  the  story.  This  easy   acceptance  of  Koichi’s  invasive  and  retrospectively  domineering  attitude  demonstrates  the   clear  leverage  which  male  characters  hold  over  their  female  counterparts.    Men  are   empowered  by  their  abilities,  whether  telepathic  or  otherwise,  to  the  extent  that  they  must   actively  refrain  from  imposing  themselves  upon  the  women  around  them,  while  women   must  fight  both  their  own  personal  battles  along  with  any  challenges  brought  against  them  


by men.    It  does  not  take  much  investigation  to  recognize  that  the  paranormal  and  perhaps   even  fantastical  elements  of  Crossfire  depict  sobering  realities.       IV.  THE  DEVIL’S  WHISPER   In  her  1989  novel  The  Devil’s  Whisper,  Miyabe  entwines  her  discussion  of  female   sexuality  with  paranormal  portrayals  of  hypnosis  in  order  to  examine  notions  of  social   normality  and  how  individuals  are  punished  for  breaking  ingrained  rules  which  warp  the   ability  to  enact  justice.    Her  careful  construction  of  a  Japanese  everywoman  within  her   characters  has  wide-­‐ranging  applications  regarding  concerns  regarding  the  problematic   standards  set  for  women  by  a  culture  that  remains  entrapped  within  the  social  pressures  it   perpetuates.    The  similitude  of  hypnotism  and  subliminal  marketing  fosters  a  conflation  of   the  two  on  the  part  of  the  reader,  thus  establishing  an  association  in  which  a  critique  of  the   former  further  facilitates  the  contemplation  –  and  perhaps  reevaluation  –  of  the  broader   connections  to  Japanese  society  itself.    Our  detective,  Mamoru  Kusaka,  is  a  high-­‐school   student  who  learns  that  a  mysterious  man,  later  revealed  to  be  a  retired  researcher  named   Shinjiro  Harasawa,  is  seeking  revenge  against  four  young  women  who  work  as  professional   scam  artists  to  con  lonely  businessmen.    The  novel  opens  with  the  death  of  the  third   woman  –  like  both  the  others,  she  commits  suicide  for  what  seems  to  be  no  apparent   reason  until  Mamoru  uncovers  that  they  have  been  hypnotized  into  doing  so.    Because   Harasawa’s  supposedly  perfected  form  of  hypnotism  enables  him  to  “‘communicate  with   the  subconscious  to  find  out  the  dark  secrets  of  people,  even  the  thoughts  their  conscious   mind  wants  never  to  see  the  light  of  day,’”  it  challenges  the  genre’s  stereotypical  culprit   (Devil’s  214).    Miyabe  functionally  questions  the  desire  for  a  guilty  individual  to  shoulder   the  blame  for  all  the  wrongs  which  readers  have  encountered  thus  far,  and  she  does  so  in   ways  similar  to  the  more  explicitly  paranormal  elements  within  The  Sleeping  Dragon  and   Crossfire.    There  is  no  longer  a  clear  divide  between  the  crimes  which  have  actually  been   committed  and  those  that  Harasawa  only  perceives  within  the  minds  of  the  women  he   hypnotizes.    His  claim  that  the  “women  were  killed  by  their  own  instinct  to  save   themselves”  predicates  on  the  assumption  that  expressing  regret  is  the  equivalent  of   admitting  guilt,  and  he  takes  it  upon  himself  to  punish  them  for  thoughts  or  impulses  that   are  never  actually  acted  out  (Devil’s  216).    While  it  is  the  women  themselves  who  are   technically  committing  suicide,  their  intentions  and  willpower  are  suppressed  by  the   power  of  Harasawa’s  hypnotism,  and  as  a  result  their  behavior  can  be  solely  attributed  to   his  interference.    Harasawa  may  believe  that  he  can  determine  who  is  deserving  of   punishment,  but  for  readers  the  issue  of  culpability  is  not  nearly  so  clear-­‐cut.     Harasawa  charges  the  four  women  with  using  their  sexuality  to  prey  on  the  lonely   and  desperate,  but  his  personal  agenda  neglects  to  consider  the  broader  social  issues  which   precipitate  their  actions.    By  his  own  admission,  Harasawa  draws  on  the  women’s  guilt  in   order  to  plant  the  trigger  phrase  which  will  lead  to  their  deaths,  and  Mamoru  recognizes   that  Harasawa  “was  able  to  manipulate  them  into  fleeing  to  their  death  simply  because   deep  down  in  their  hearts  they  felt  that  they  had  to  keep  running…  they  regretted  what   they  had  done  and  were  afraid”  (249).    Kazuko  Takagi  is  the  only  one  of  the  four  women  to   survive  Harasawa’s  misplaced  revenge  after  she  is  targeted  due  to  her  career  as  an  escort,  a   job  whose  duties  included  convincing  her  clients  to  sign  as  loan  guarantors  on  the  behalves   of  lending  companies.    Kazuko  desperately  attempts  to  make  Mamoru  understand  that   “‘what  I  did,  what  we  did  was  terrible…  I  felt  guilty,  but  I  had  no  choice.    Once  we’d  started,  


it wasn’t  up  to  us  to  decide  to  quit.    We  had  to  continue.    None  of  us  did  it  because  we  liked   it!”  (236).    Although  readers  may  be  tempted  to  disregard  her  tearful  pleading  as  nothing   but  selfishness,  Miyabe  adds  enough  subtext  to  make  this  conclusion  doubtful.    Kazuko’s   initial  involvement  with  her  duplicitous  lifestyle  stemmed  from  frustration  with  the   restrictions  placed  on  women  in  the  Japanese  workforce:  “she  couldn’t  bear  the  thought  of   a  regular  job.    She  had  long  ago  decided  that  the  tedious  jobs  women  were  assigned  were   all  pretty  much  the  same  no  matter  who  you  worked  for”  (107).    Kazuko’s  situation   certainly  evokes  the  resentment  expressed  by  Kanako  in  The  Sleeping  Dragon,  but  the  two   women  are  best  distinguished  by  Kazuko’s  determination  to  take  action  and  abandon  the   traditional  workforce  in  order  to  pursue  more  beneficial  opportunities;  yet  Kazuko  still   comes  to  find  herself  in  a  situation  of  submission.    One  of  her  harshest  critics,  a  freelance   writer  for  softcore  porn  magazines,  reveals  that  he  tricked  Kazuko  and  the  other  three   women  into  posing  for  an  article  by  pretending  that  he  wouldn’t  actually  use  their  photos,   excusing  his  actions  on  the  premise  that  “‘they  should  have  known  that  I  wouldn’t  make  an   outlay  like  that  without  expecting  something  in  return”  (Devil’s  98).    With  an  impressive   disregard  for  his  own  hypocrisy,  he  then  rants  to  Mamoru  that  the  women  were  exploiting   their  male  clients  and  thus  unworthy  of  pity:  “‘Young  man,  those  women  were  scum.    I   don’t  have  an  ounce  of  sympathy  for  any  of  them.    If  one  of  them  died,  she  got  what  she   deserved’”  (102).    This  harsh  evaluation  completely  neglects  the  collectively  sanctioned   pressures  which  pushed  these  women  into  fringe  professions  while  highlighting  the   sanctimonious  attitude  which  allows  the  reporter  to  claim  that  his  own  exploitation  is   permissible  while  a  woman’s  is  not.    Although  her  job  is  a  regrettable  one,  it  is   unreasonable  and  even  irresponsible  to  blame  Kazuko  for  attempting  to  subvert  and   benefit  from  a  social  stereotype  that  would  seek  to  oppress  her.     The  symbiosis  between  an  individual’s  will  and  their  ability  to  autonomously   express  this  will  is  examined  through  the  parallel  which  Miyabe  fosters  between  the   hypnotism  Kazuko  experiences  and  the  novel’s  discussion  of  subliminal  marketing.    When   Mamoru’s  workplace  implements  subliminal  marketing  tactics,  several  incidents  of   violence  and  attempted  suicide  occur  in  the  following  weeks.    Mamoru’s  boss  manages  to   isolate  the  cause,  explaining  how  the  company  was  using  this  type  of  marketing  approach   to  prevent  shoplifting  in  their  stores:   “The   girl   and   the   man   who   had   those   psychotic   episodes   had   something   in   common.     They   both   had   mental   vulnerabilities.     One   was   [a   rehabilitated  kleptomaniac  who  was]  neurotic  about  her  inclination  to  steal   things,   and   the   other   was   a   drug   addict   with   a   criminal   record.     Now   send   messages  to  their  unconscious  that  they  are  on  the  verge  of  being  caught  by   the  police.    It’s  like  stepping  on  landmines  in  their  brains.”   “It’s   awful,”   shivered   [Mamoru’s   sister]   Maki.     “We   humans   like   to   believe  we  are  acting  on  our  own  free  will.”   I   can   bend   people’s   will   to   my   own.     Once   again   Mamoru   heard   [Harasawa’s]  voice.  (185)   This  passage  expresses  the  relationship  which  Miyabe  develops  throughout  The  Devil’s   Whisper,  where  the  paranormal  presence  of  hypnotism  speaks  directly  to  an  anxiety  of  how   free  will  can  exist  in  a  society  that  controls  the  behavior  of  its  citizens  on  an  unconscious   level.    As  a  result,  the  criticism  which  Miyabe  develops  regarding  hypnotism  can  be  easily   adapted  by  the  reader  to  a  real-­‐world  setting  with  which  they  identify.    Although  we  see  


this social  conditioning  in  a  radicalized  form  through  Harasawa’s  hypnosis,  the  main   character  Mamoru  is  himself  a  victim  of  the  subtle  efforts  of  society  to  direct  its  members  –   and  not  for  the  better.     Mamoru’s  childhood  experiences  with  isolation  and  bullying  demonstrate  the   insidious  ways  in  which  divisive  behaviors  are  tacitly  legitimized  by  society  and   perpetuated  across  generations.    As  a  child  whose  father  is  believed  to  have  abandoned  his   family  to  escape  embezzlement  charges,  Mamoru’s  life  is  shaped  by  the  prejudice  which  has   continued  to  haunt  his  small  family  ever  since.    Thanks  to  the  power  of  collective  self-­‐ justification,  Mamoru  lives  a  life  of  isolation  that  defines  his  childhood:  “Mamoru’s  friends   had  refused  to  play  with  him  anymore…  as  he  grew  older  things  got  worse  and  he  better   understood  what  had  happened…  The  discrimination  began  with  the  adults,  but  prejudice   is  a  powerful  disease,  and  it  wasn’t  long  before  it  spread  to  the  children”  (71).    The  children   have  no  real  understanding  of  why  they  are  expected  to  shun  one  of  their  classmates,  but   the  pressure  for  them  to  conform  supersedes  their  individual  discernment,  and  this  trend   is  only  further  affirmed  as  they  age.    When  another  character  decides  to  intervene  on  the   behalf  of  Mamoru  and  his  mother,  “nobody  was  able  to  turn  him  down  when  he  said  that  it   wasn’t  the  family’s  fault  and  that  they  really  ought  to  be  pitied”  (229).    This  indicates  a  level   of  private  awareness  that  the  townsfolk  cannot  justify  their  behavior,  and  when  directly   challenged  they  are  willing  to  submit.    But  despite  several  years  passing  and  moving  to  a   new  city  following  the  death  of  his  mother,  Mamoru  continues  to  experience  bullying  from   some  of  his  classmates.    After  realizing  that  the  legacy  of  his  father’s  theft  has  enabled   someone  to  frame  Mamoru  for  stealing  funds  from  the  boys’  basketball  team,  he  “felt  a  dull   sword  of  despair  cutting  through  his  heart.    Nothing  had  changed”  (121).    However,  Miyabe   counters  this  narrative  with  the  assertion  that  by  fighting  against  the  pressure  to  conform,   good  people  like  Mamoru  can  be  vindicated  and  society  will  be  the  better  for  it.    Mamoru  is   encouraged  when  the  basketball  coach  apologizes  for  the  accusations,  emphasizing  to   Mamoru  that  he  deserves  to  be  judged  on  his  own  merits:  “‘If  frogs  only  produced  frogs,   we’d  having  nothing  but  frogs…  but  the  reason  I  manage  to  stick  with  this  job  is  that  it’s  so   interesting  to  watch  the  polliwogs  turn  into  dogs  and  horses  and  other  types  of  animals”   (139).    When  viewed  from  Mamoru’s,  and  therefore  the  reader’s,  perspective,  we  are  able   to  perceive  how  notions  of  yielding  to  society  as  a  corrective  force  only  serve  to  punish  the   innocent  in  place  of  the  guilty.     V.  SHADOW  FAMILY     Shadow  Family  was  published  in  2001  as  a  direct  sequel  to  Crossfire,  and  although   its  plot  does  not  rely  directly  on  the  paranormal,  the  narrative  engages  heavily  with  the   ambiguity  of  disentangling  reality  from  fantasy  when  the  traditional  detective  figure  is  all   but  entirely  absent.    In  the  novel,  after  patiently  drudging  through  a  series  of  witness   interviews  and  corresponding  hunches,  we  discover  in  the  final  chapters  that  our  witnesses   are  actually  police  officers  performing  a  pre-­‐written  script  in  order  to  draw  a  confession   from  the  daughter  of  the  victim,  Kazumi  Tokoroda,  for  her  father’s  murder.    Each   observation  and  carefully  crafted  theory  gathered  until  this  point  is  unapologetically   demolished  when  readers  realize  that  the  mystery  has  been  solved  from  the  beginning  –   there  is  no  real  work  left  to  be  done.    The  interviewing  officer,  whose  perceptions  and   assumptions  we  have  treated  as  genuine  moments  of  inspiration  or  intuition,  is  revealed  to   be  just  another  actor  in  an  elaborate  stage,  rather  than  a  source  of  information  or  evidence.    


Like Kazumi,  readers  are  entangled  by  the  way  the  outermost  layer  of  deception  is  used  in   conjunction  with  the  facts  of  the  case  to  further  obscure  our  ability  to  discern  what   information  can  be  taken  as  reliable  truth.    By  withholding  this  component,  Miyabe   encourages  her  readers  to  engage  with  the  dialogue  realistically  and  intimately.    Although   the  ploy’s  mastermind,  Fusao  Nakamoto,  is  absent  for  the  majority  of  the  novel  due  to  an   accident  that  leaves  him  in  a  coma,  he  is  praised  as  being  the  only  person  whose   “sympathetic  understanding”  allows  him  to  see  into  the  heart  of  the  case  and  identify  the   culprit  (Shadow  188).    Everything  is  done  with  the  intention  of  drawing  out  these  final   moments  of  explanation  from  Kazumi.    Knowing  that  everything  we  have  understood  as   fact  up  until  this  point  is  suddenly  rendered  useless  throws  the  reader’s  conclusions  into   complete  confusion,  primarily  because  the  reader  discovers  that  they  are  the  only  ones   attempting  to  actually  attempting  to  detect  anything.    All  of  the  relevant  characters  in  the   novel  are  aware  that  Kazumi  is  the  killer,  and  thus  the  “mystery”  becomes  a  pretext  for  an   opportunity  to  dissect  her  motives.    Kazumi’s  confession  to  the  detectives  becomes  the  only   time  a  character  is  able  to  speak  directly  about  their  experiences  in  their  own  words,  and  as   a  result  she  is  assigned  unparalleled  importance.       Once  Kazumi  is  given  the  opportunity  to  explain  herself,  it  is  clear  that  Miyabe   intends  for  readers  to  consider  her  as  much  of  a  victim  as  her  father,  if  not  more  so.    When   Kazumi  is  introduced  to  readers,  her  entrance  at  the  police  station  conveys  that,  despite   her  age,  she  is  a  young  woman  with  unapologetic  confidence:  “Several  young  men  standing   in  the  lobby  watched  [her]  with  interest…  Kazumi  ignored  them.    Not  because  she  was  too   distracted  by  fear  or  nervousness  to  see  them.    See  them  she  did,  and  sent  an  unambiguous   signal  that  they  had  no  right  to  be  ogling  her”  (47).    She  is  described  as  successful  in  every   way:  not  only  beautiful  with  impeccable  fashion  sense,  “she  went  to  a  prestigious  private   girls’  school,  and  her  grades  were  among  the  best  in  her  class”  (47).    Miyabe  paints  a  clear   picture  of  an  intelligent  girl  with  a  promising  future  ahead  of  her,  and  through  her   characterization  readers  are  provided  with  ample  reason  to  admire  Kazumi.    This   admiration  is  only  heighted  when  we  compare  Kazumi  to  her  mother,  Harue,  whose  most   sympathetic  supporter  can  only  call  a  “sad  creature”  (118).    The  two  women  are  introduced   at  the  same  time,  and  Harue  is  portrayed  as  the  complete  antithesis  of  Kazumi.    Miyabe   encourages  the  comparison  between  mother  and  daughter,  and  often  Harue  is  found   lacking:  “In  stark  contrast  to  her  daughter’s  aplomb,  Harue  Tokoroda  was  unmistakably   frightened.    Her  eyes  darted  across  the  room…  She  looked  pitiful”  (47).    Unfortunately  for   Harue,  she  has  virtually  no  advocates  to  speak  for  her.    Her  daughter  makes  no  effort  to   amend  her  mother’s  pathetic  impression  with  the  other  characters  or  the  readers   themselves.    Instead,  she  is  openly  scornful  of  her  mother’s  weakness,  bluntly  stating  that   “‘I  just  don’t  want  to  end  up  like  my  mother…  Someone  who  latches  on  to  one  man  and   hangs  on  for  dear  life,  like  a  parasite.    Living  in  a  fog,  no  life  of  her  own.    I  couldn’t  do  that’”   (114).    Kazumi  is  rendered  as  vastly  superior  to  her  mother,  and  as  a  result  Harue’s   passivity  and  dependence  are  identified  by  Miyabe  as  undesirable  qualities.       Once  Kazumi  becomes  the  epitome  of  self-­‐sufficiency,  this  image  remains  largely   untarnished  in  spite  of  the  realization  that  she  has  murdered  her  own  father.    Readers  are   only  given  a  few  pages  to  absorb  that  this  likeable  girl  is  a  killer  before  Miyabe  intercedes   with  her  backstory,  as  if  to  soften  the  blow.    Although  Kazumi’s  troubled  relationship  with   her  father  is  vaguely  alluded  to  throughout  the  novel,  the  ugly  truth  of  it  gives  clear   preference  to  Kazumi  and  comes  very  close  to  justifying  her  actions,  insisting  that  “Kazumi  


could never  have  confronted  her  father  with  her  anger.    If  she  did,  he’d  only  think  she  was   caving  in.    That’s  what  he  was  after,  all  along.    ‘See  there…  You’re  mine  and  you’ll  do  as  I   say,  won’t  you?    There,  now,  that’s  a  good  girl.    As  long  as  you  see  how  it  is’”  (178).    Her   father  becomes  a  villain  because  of  his  selfish  desire  to  force  Kazumi  into  accepting  his   predetermined  ideal  of  the  perfect  daughter,  which  primarily  requires  that  Kazumi  repress   any  desire  to  become  independent.    She  bitterly  recalls  “‘That’s  what  he  really  loved  –  not   me,  his  actual  daughter,  but  the  idea  of  a  beautiful  father-­‐daughter  relationship.    So  long  as   I…  didn’t  have  any  ideas  of  my  own,  he  doted  on  me.    As  if  I  were  a  cute  little  doll’”  (112).     Because  her  father’s  manipulation  was  primarily  focused  on  dissolving  her  sense  of   personal  identity  and  independence,  the  very  traits  which  Miyabe  has  already  trained   readers  to  appreciate,  it  is  easy  for  our  sympathies  to  remain  with  Kazumi  as  she  describes   her  father’s  efforts  to  emotionally  subdue  her:     “All  he  wanted  was  for  me  to  stay  his  sweet  little  pet.    To  listen  to  him  and   grow  up  into  just  the  kind  of  daughter  he  wanted  me  to  be…  Someone  who   couldn’t   stand   to   be   alone,   who’d   cling   to   him.     Unfortunately,   I   didn’t   turn   out   to   be   a   clingy,   whiny   weakling.     I   may   have   been   his   daughter,   but   I   refused  to  be  his  ornament.    I  wouldn’t  stand  for  it!”  (112)   Kazumi’s  father  prioritizes  his  position  within  the  relationship  with  his  daughter  over  the   relationship  itself,  and  as  Kazumi  begins  to  outgrow  his  seemingly  benevolent  guidance,  his   status  as  an  authority  figure  is  threatened.    Miyabe  makes  it  very  clear  that  the  natural   process  of  Kazumi  maturing  into  adulthood  and  independence  is  not  the  problem.    It  is  her   father’s  response  which  led  to  the  circumstances  that  ended  in  murder,  all  because   “Ryosuke  Tokoroda  [Kazumi’s  father]  lived  his  whole  life  like  that.    The  connections  he   formed  with  people  were  all  about  him.    He  always  had  to  be  center  stage”  (178).    However,   Tokoroda  goes  beyond  the  already  dubious  dynamics  of  parent  and  child;  his   determination  to  convince  Kazumi  to  adhere  to  highly  gendered  standards  of  an  acceptable   daughter  is  a  direct  challenge  to  her  attempts  to  establish  her  own  identity  outside  of  these   boundaries.    Those  qualities  which  Miyabe  has  allowed  readers  to  disparage  in  Harue  are   now  linked  back  to  Tokoroda’s  efforts  “to  tame  his  daughter,  the  same  way  he’d  tamed  his   wife  [by  picking]  the  meanest  way  possible  to  put  her  in  her  place”  (178).    Beyond  the   direct  damage  Tokoroda  inflicts  on  his  daughter  by  intentionally  weakening  her  emotional   stability,  readers  are  also  left  to  reflect  on  how,  despite  her  enraged  rebellion,  Kazumi  still   loses  an  essential  battle  through  the  act  of  ending  her  father’s  life.    In  attempting  to  break   free  of  Tokoroda  Sr.,  “Kazumi  Tokoroda  [had  become]  her  father’s  daughter,  after  all.    She   had  supreme  faith  in  herself,  relied  on  herself  implicitly  –  and  would  stop  at  nothing  to  get   her  own  way”  (185).    In  trying  to  resist  her  father,  Kazumi  becomes  him,  leaving  the  reader   to  grieve  for  the  shining  example  of  youthful  capability  which  has  been  sacrificed  in   Kazumi’s  bid  for  her  theoretical  freedom.    The  outrage  at  the  unfairness  of  this  trade-­‐off   feeds  on  our  empathy  for  the  lost  potential,  which  we  are  led  to  appreciate  through   Miyabe’s  use  of  illusion  to  prioritize  the  novel’s  characters  over  its  genre.       VI.  CONCLUSION   It  seems  appropriate  that  when  we  reflect  back  on  Miyabe’s  novels,  we  are  left  with   more  questions  than  answers.    The  texts  examined  in  this  study  are  reflective  of  the  way   Miyabe  both  engages  with  and  deconstructs  the  genre  of  detective  fiction  without   becoming  mired  in  its  many  identifying  techniques  and  tropes.    The  mysteries  and  murders  


which characters  unite  to  solve  are  only  a  pretext  to  ask  much  harder,  darker  questions   about  the  world  and  its  inhabitants.    While  this  essay  looks  at  Miyabe’s  concepts  of  the   paranormal  in  many  varying  forms,  from  a  potentially  believable  portrayal  of  hypnotism  to   the  unexpected  introduction  of  pyrokinesis,  each  of  these  patently  unrealistic  elements   help  us  to  perceive  and  challenge  many  aspects  of  society  which  would  otherwise  remain   hidden.    Relationships  between  gender  and  power  remain  central  to  Miyabe’s  works,  and   readers  are  able  to  bring  these  facets  to  the  surface  through  the  same  structural  mix-­‐and-­‐ match  across  and  outside  of  genres  which  most  critics  would  interpret  as  proof  that  her   works  should  be  entirely  removed  from  their  status  as  detective  fiction.    However,  those   elements  which  remain  indicative  of  the  detective  novel  remain  essential  to  Miyabe’s   efforts  to  critique  her  own  culture  –  even  if  the  primary  purpose  of  these  genre-­‐specific   elements  is  to  be  glaring  in  their  intentional  and  noticeable  absence.    At  various  points,   each  of  these  novels  played  on  the  expectations  fostered  by  the  detective  genre,  picking  up   various  depictions  of  the  purpose  and  relationship  attributed  to  the  detective  and  the   criminal,  only  to  laughingly  toss  both  away.   The  freedom  that  allows  Miyabe  to  weave  so  effortlessly  in  between  the  rigid   structures  which  compose  and  categorize  genres  is  particular  to  her  as  an  author  of   popular  literature,  and  her  novels  play  an  integral  role  in  a  genre  typically  known  for  its   efforts  to  revere  facts  and  truth  above  all  else.    Miyabe  does  not  tear  apart  the  detective   genre  as  much  as  step  outside  of  it  in  order  to  demonstrate  the  enormous  critical  value   which  remains  largely  untapped  in  both  her  own  subgenre  and  popular  fiction  as  a  whole.     As  a  result,  the  reader  and  characters  learn  to  shatter  and  reconstruct  concepts  of  reality   and  self.    Just  as  Shinji  can  read  the  feelings  of  the  people  around  him  without  being   entirely  capable  of  articulating  or  even  identifying  his  own,  the  detective  novel  can  mirror   the  society  around  it  without  necessarily  demanding  that  the  society  pay  attention  to  their   reflection.    This  sort  of  self-­‐analysis  is  ironic  in  light  of  Seidensticker’s  earlier  comments   regarding  the  bundan  –  after  all,  surely  only  pure  art  can  be  reflexive  –  and  yet  Miyabe   analyzes  issues  of  autonomy,  sexuality,  gender,  and  love  from  across  the  synthetic  divide   which  separates  pure  and  popular  literature.    Regardless  of  the  stigmas  which  may   encumber  the  appreciation  and  critique  of  taishūbungaku  in  Japan,  Miyabe’s  novels   definitively  demonstrate  the  ability  of  popular  literature  to  engage  directly  with  Japanese   societal  apprehensions  and  emerging  trends.    In  particular,  Miyabe’s  female  characters   evoke  images  of  the  modern  Japanese  woman  in  order  to  question  her  place  in  the  cultural   sphere,  as  well  as  her  future  in  the  development  of  an  increasingly  modernized  and   progressive  society.    Through  a  playful  and  unrepentant  recasting  of,  or  cheerful   willingness  to  dispense  with  any  rules  regarding  what  genre  fiction  can  include,  Miyabe   openly  borrows  the  undefined  and  intangible  distinctions  which  the  bundan  claim  as   unique  to  junbungaku  and  uses  them  in  conjunction  with  popular  genre  fiction  for  the  sake   of  popular  literature  as  a  tool  of  social  commentary  and  change.       As  a  popular  author,  Miyabe  has  a  direct  line  to  her  audience,  which  is  itself  a  global   force.    She  has  maintained  a  fairly  proliferous  presence  in  the  international  market,  and   many  of  her  most  popular  detective  novels  and  ghost  legends  are  available  in  several   languages.    Yet  it  is  also  clear  that  while  her  words  are  far-­‐reaching,  they  are  still  highly   restricted  by  the  uncooperative  relationship  between  the  bundan  and  the  rest  of  Japan.     Miyabe’s  1998  novel  The  Reason  (理由  riyū)  was  awarded  the  Naoki  Prize  for  Popular  


Literature, and  yet  according  to  compiled  sales  records  for  that  year,  apart  from  a  brief   sales  spike  after  the  prize  was  awarded,  the  book  had  vanished  from  bestseller  lists  by  the   next  quarter  (“Shuppan…”).    I  was  initially  shocked  to  discover  that  Miyabe  had  been  a   Naoki  recipient,  and  was  subsequently  puzzled  by  the  inconsistency  of  having  so  many  of   her  books  available  with  the  one  bewildering  exception  of  her  most  decorated  novel.     Several  of  the  translations  used  in  this  study  were  published  as  recently  as  2009,  and  yet   despite  nearly  two  decades  passing,  the  novel  I  would  have  assumed  to  be  the  jewel  of   Miyabe’s  career  remains  untranslated  and  thus  unknown  outside  of  Japan.    Although  the   demands  of  international  publishers  are  not  necessarily  indicative  of  domestic  interest  in   Miyabe’s  Naoki-­‐winning  novel,  it  does  invite  the  question  as  to  why  Japanese  publishing   houses  felt  that  her  other  novels  would  be  better  received.    Such  questions  cannot  help  but   foster  conjectures  regarding  the  disparity  –  if  indeed  there  is  one  –  between  the  novel   which  literary  critics  lauded  as  “scholar-­‐approved”  popular  literature  and  Miyabe’s  lesser   celebrated  but  better  known  works.    Miyabe  shows  us  that  popular  literature  offers  a   unique  perspective  that  is  endless  in  its  potential  to  adapt,  evolve,  and  reinvigorate  not  just   a  genre,  but  an  entire  literature.    Certainly  Miyabe  in  particular  offers  valuable  many   insights,  but  just  as  important  is  the  precedent  she  sets  for  the  thousands  of  voices  that  will   follow  her  in  an  effort  to  stimulate  the  hearts  and  minds  of  readers.          


Works Cited   Behling,  Laura  L.  “‘Generic’  Multiculturalism:  Hybrid  Texts,  Cultural  Contexts.”  College   English  65.4  (2003):  411-­‐426.  JSTOR.  Web.  6  Dec.  2015.   Cawelti,  John  G.  Mystery,  Violence,  and  Popular  Culture.  Madison:  The  University  of   Wisconsin  Press,  2004.  Print.   Davis,  J.  Madison.  “Tough  Guys  with  Long  Legs:  The  Global  Popularity  of  the  Hard-­‐Boiled   Style.”  World  Literature  Today  78.1  (2004):  36-­‐40.  JSTOR.  Web.  6  Dec.  2015.   Halloran,  Fumiko  Mori.  “Best  Sellers.”  The  Wilson  Quarterly  9.3  (1985):  49-­‐56.  JSTOR.  Web.   10  Sept.  2015.   Kanawa,  Sari.  Murder  Most  Modern:  Detective  Fiction  and  Japanese  Culture.  Minneapolis:   University  of  Minnesota  Press,  2008.  Print.   Mack,  Edward.  “Accounting  for  Taste:  The  Creation  of  the  Akutagawa  and  Naoki  Prizes  for   Literature.”  Harvard  Journal  of  Asiatic  Studies  64.2  (2004):  291-­‐340.  JSTOR.  Web.  10   Sept.  2015.   Miyabe,  Miyuki.  Crossfire.  Trans.  Deborah  Stuhr  Iwabuchi  and  Anna  Husson  Isozaki.  Tokyo:   Kodansha  International,  2005.  Print.   -­‐-­‐-­‐.  The  Devil’s  Whisper.  Trans.  Deborah  Stuhr  Iwabuchi.  Tokyo:  Kodansha  International,   2007.  Print.   -­‐-­‐-­‐.  “Mangan  no  nissaku  naoki  jyushou.”  Trans.  Ali  Richardson.  Ooru  Yomimono  69.3  (2014):   28-­‐29.  Print.   -­‐-­‐-­‐.  “Edo  keizai  shousetsu  no  miryoku.”  Trans.  Ali  Richardson.  Ooru  Yomimono  70.3  (2015):   29-­‐30.  Print.   -­‐-­‐-­‐.  Shadow  Family.  Trans.  Juliet  Winters  Carpenter.  Tokyo:  Kodansha  International,  2004.   Print.   -­‐-­‐-­‐.  The  Sleeping  Dragon.  Trans.  Deborah  Stuhr  Iwabuchi.  Tokyo:  Kodansha  International,   2009.  Print.   Seaman,  Amanda  C.  Bodies  of  Evidence:  Women,  Society,  and  Detective  Fiction  in  1990s   Japan.  Honolulu:  University  of  Hawai’i  Press,  2004.  Print.   Seidensticker,  Edward.  “The  ‘Pure’  and  the  ‘In-­‐Between’  in  Modern  Japanese  Theories  of   the  Novel.”  Harvard  Journal  of  Asiatic  Studies  26  (1966):  174-­‐186.  JSTOR.  Web.  10   Sept.  2015.   “Shuppan  gyoukai  no  mamechishiki.”  Besutoseraa  nendobetsu  Meiji  3-­‐nen~.  Hon  choshu   sentaa,  1870-­‐.  Web.  15  Oct.  2015.   Strecher,  Matthew  C.  “Purely  Mass  or  Massively  Pure?  The  Division  Between  ‘Pure’  and   ‘Mass’  Literature.”  Monumenta  Nipponica  51.3  (1996):  357-­‐374.  JSTOR.  Web.  10   Sept.  2015.      

Articulāte 2016  

Bigfoot, Shakespeare, and Ecofeminism are only three of many subjects explored in the 2016 issue of Articulāte. This edition includes essays...

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