Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, Facultatea de Litere și Arte; Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Faculty of Letters and Arts
E-mail personal autor:
Jeffrey Eugenides’ Complainers Through the Feminist Lens
of Adrienne Rich’s and Audre Lorde’s Theories
Complainers is one of the ten stories that make up Eugenides’ most recent collection, Fresh Complaint, published in 2017. The story of two elderly women, who, crushed by the patriarchy and numerous glass ceilings defining their existence as wives and mothers, “elope” in a desperate attempt at self-definition and self-determination, Complainers is maybe Eugenides’ most obviously feminist piece to date, except maybe The Virgin Suicides. The present paper sets out to trace feminist discourse in Eugenides’ story by resorting to two core feminist texts, Adrienne Rich’s “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence” and Audre Lorde’s “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House.” Through the lens of these two texts, we have attempted to prove that what Eugenides depicts in Complainers is essentially a non-sexual, but profoundly spiritual lesbian relationship.
Keywords: Jeffrey Eugenides, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, feminism, lesbianism, patriarchy, Fresh Complaint, female communion
Chesler, Phylis. “Twenty Years since Women and Madness: Toward a Feminist Institute of Mental Health and Healing”. The Journal of Mind and Behavior, Institute of Mind and Behavior, Inc., Vol. 11, No. 3/4, SPECIAL ISSUE: Challenging the Therapeutic State: Critical Perspectives on Psychiatry and the Mental Health System (Summer and Autumn, 1990), pp. 313-322.
Eugenides, Jeffrey. Fresh Complaint. 4th Estate, 2017.
Gough, Kathleen. “The Origin of the Family,” in Toward an Anthropology of Women, ed. Rayna Rapp Reiter, Monthly Review Press, 1975, pp. 69-70.
Lorde, Audre. “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House”. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Ed. Berkeley, CA: Crossing Press, 2007, pp. 110- 114.
Rich, Adrienne. “Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence”, Signs, Vol. 5, No. 4, Women: Sex and Sexuality. (Summer, 1980), pp. 631-660.