Thomas Pynchon is no stranger to using shocking imagery to get his point across. V. (1963), his first full-length novel, is no exception, containing many instances of rape or attempted rape. The book’s third chapter, however, features a scene that is not explicitly an instance of sexual violence, yet arguably invokes in the reader the same highly invasive, uncomfortable feeling it would if it were an explicit description of rape. In this paper, I will pinpoint the reasons why this might be the case by comparing the second part of the chapter, a seemingly innocent rhinoplasty scene, to the more apparent mentions of rape throughout the book. Particular attention will be paid to similarities in imagery, the agency of the respective victims, and the reactions of male and female witnesses. Additionally, because there seems to be an aspect to the scene that implies it was intended as a metaphor for consensual sex, I will determine what the success or failure of this intended metaphor means for Pynchon’s philosophy on female consent.View More Implicit Rape and Female Consent in Thomas Pynchon’s V.
In her most recent novel The Blazing World (2014), Siri Hustvedt raises the problem of sex biases in the art world. One of the central premises of the book is that works of art executed by women are rated significantly lower than the same piece by a man. “Does art really have a gender identity”, asks Hustvedt …View More Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World: Does Art Have a Gender Identity?
Antke Engel, who works in the field of gender studies and queer theory, points out that gender difference and heteronormativity are organised by two mechanisms of power, normalisation and hierarchisation. Binary constructs have a crucial function in these processes. They influence concepts of identity and self-identification but are undermined by …View More Queerversity: Desire and Sexuality in China Miéville’s Fiction
Despite the ideals of freedom espoused by Americans a prudish attitude toward sex and sexuality pervades public discourse. From victim blaming to slut shaming, America is simultaneously enthralled and enraged by sex. This complex attitude has been one of the driving forces of avant-garde thought throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries…View More Everybody Wants Some: Sexual Energy and the American Avant-garde
The hypodermic syringe has had a profound impact upon the administration of medicine and upon non-medicinal/recreational drug use since it was first marketed in the 1850s. Here, I investigate early depictions…View More Hypodermics at the fin-de-siècle
In departure lounges, train stations and motorway services across the UK, one novel – or rather one trilogy – has graced the laps of engrossed readers for the past twelve months…View More Fifty Shades of the Future