Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155966
Title: "THE TASTE OF THE LIVING": CANNIBALISM, CONSUMERISM AND COMMUNION IN CLARICE LISPECTOR'S A PAIXÃO SEGUNDO G.H. AND A HORA DA ESTRELA
Authors: HEE WEI JEAN JOLENE
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2019
Citation: HEE WEI JEAN JOLENE (2019-04-15). "THE TASTE OF THE LIVING": CANNIBALISM, CONSUMERISM AND COMMUNION IN CLARICE LISPECTOR'S A PAIXÃO SEGUNDO G.H. AND A HORA DA ESTRELA. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Clarice Lispector’s A Paixão Segundo G.H. (1964) and A Hora da Estrela (1977) are preoccupied with the effaced existences of an impoverished subclass, which cannot be fully assimilated within the bourgeois-dominated structures of Brazilian consumerist society – abjects residual to the cannibalistic economy of consumerism which subsumes class inequality and constitutes social hegemonies within Brazilian reality. This thesis investigates how Lispector appropriates and reconfigures the cultural metaphor of consumerism as cannibalistic devouring, recuperating the abject workings of nausea, indigestion and vomiting which disrupt such predatory processes, in order to articulate the subversive potential for revolt against consumerist logics by the Others marginalised as waste remnants from the social body. Through provoking the self-annihilating rupture of vomiting, I argue, these residual Others resurface the dispossession and social injustice ordinarily engulfed from consciousness within the social body – engendering, for the privileged consumer, communion with the repugnant poverty underlying palatable bourgeois reality. My argument will situate itself within the social contradictions of late 1960s-70s Brazil, the period contemporary with these novels. I first contextualise the motifs of consumption and cannibalism in Lispector’s writing in relation to the rise of consumer capitalism in modernizing Brazil, arguably defined by the hegemonic dominance of a local and global elite perpetuating the exploitative assimilation of others into consumer economies. Rather than framing such cannibalism as total – as most critics have done – my study considers how Lispector illuminates, inherent in the internal contradictions of bourgeois order, the suppressed presence of underdeveloped others only partially-digestible by dominant structures. The significance of this approach lies in its possibility of locating strategies of resistance to consumerist hegemonies over representation. By synthesizing Zita Nunes’ “excremental logic” of cannibalism with Kristevan-derived theories of social abjection, I suggest how these impoverished Others, resurfacing within bourgeois acts of consumption, threaten the revolted breakdown of consumerist realities.Clarice Lispector’s A Paixão Segundo G.H. (1964) and A Hora da Estrela (1977) are preoccupied with the effaced existences of an impoverished subclass, which cannot be fully assimilated within the bourgeois-dominated structures of Brazilian consumerist society – abjects residual to the cannibalistic economy of consumerism which subsumes class inequality and constitutes social hegemonies within Brazilian reality. This thesis investigates how Lispector appropriates and reconfigures the cultural metaphor of consumerism as cannibalistic devouring, recuperating the abject workings of nausea, indigestion and vomiting which disrupt such predatory processes, in order to articulate the subversive potential for revolt against consumerist logics by the Others marginalised as waste remnants from the social body. Through provoking the self-annihilating rupture of vomiting, I argue, these residual Others resurface the dispossession and social injustice ordinarily engulfed from consciousness within the social body – engendering, for the privileged consumer, communion with the repugnant poverty underlying palatable bourgeois reality. My argument will situate itself within the social contradictions of late 1960s-70s Brazil, the period contemporary with these novels. I first contextualise the motifs of consumption and cannibalism in Lispector’s writing in relation to the rise of consumer capitalism in modernizing Brazil, arguably defined by the hegemonic dominance of a local and global elite perpetuating the exploitative assimilation of others into consumer economies. Rather than framing such cannibalism as total – as most critics have done – my study considers how Lispector illuminates, inherent in the internal contradictions of bourgeois order, the suppressed presence of underdeveloped others only partially-digestible by dominant structures. The significance of this approach lies in its possibility of locating strategies of resistance to consumerist hegemonies over representation. By synthesizing Zita Nunes’ “excremental logic” of cannibalism with Kristevan-derived theories of social abjection, I suggest how these impoverished Others, resurfacing within bourgeois acts of consumption, threaten the revolted breakdown of consumerist realities.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155966
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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