"The Story of Girls Everywhere": Narrating the Gendered Life in Carmen Boullosa's Treinta años and Kathryn Davis's Duplex
Bi-College (Haverford and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Comparative Literature Program
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This thesis explores the use of narration in fictional accounts of women's lives through two novels: Carmen Boullosa's Treinta años and Kathryn Davis's Duplex. I conduct my analysis using Judith Butler's theory of gender performance, which I supplement with the concept of master narratives from the field of narrative identity in psychology. Master narratives are large-scale cultural and societal scripts for people's lives. The ways in which individuals conform to, deviate from or even resist cultural master narratives have important implications for their social and psychological experiences (McLean and Syed 323-324). I examine the way Treinta años depicts the performance of womanhood and the stress and abuse women experience within gendered bodies. Using Duplex, I showthat there is no "essence" at the heart of gender but simply a perceived cultural script for girls to imitate and perform. Finally, I analyze how both novels use embedded stories to represent the cultural master narratives for women and girls and how the protagonists resist these narratives. I also include an overview of the important contexts and intertexts for each novel.