Date

5-1-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Adviser

Suzanne Edwards

Abstract

In a post-9/11 world, the figure of the female suicide bomber has emerged as a contentious site of representation in global discourse. Nayomi Munaweera’s novel, Island of a Thousand Mirrors, foregrounds how race, nationality, and gender interact with geopolitical forces to impact this figure’s resistance to nationalist norms of subjectivity. This paper employs Jasbir Puar’s assemblage theory to map the forces that construct Saraswathi’s suicide bomber in ITM as a figure of anti-normative subjectivity in opposition to a cohesive articulation of normative U.S. national identity and sovereignty. In doing so, it also highlights the limitations of her political statement due to her narrative erasure in the novel by two Sri Lankan women who become U.S. citizens. This paper then posits two scenes from the novel as alternative visions of anti-normative subjectivity in response to trauma as opposed to the vision of bodily discontinuity posed by the terrorist bomber.

Available for download on Saturday, February 26, 2022

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