Plaza: Dialogues in Language and Literature <em>Plaza </em>publishes works by graduate students on literature, composition studies, folklore, cultural studies, language studies, and gender studies. en-US Authors maintain copyright of their own work. If the contribution includes any materials that have been taken from another source (e.g., quotations that exceed fair use, illustrations, charts, other graphics), the author must obtain written permission to reproduce them in electronic formats. (Jessie Casteel) (Jessie Casteel) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 21:24:06 +0000 OJS 60 A Reconceptualization of Faulkner’s Dilsey <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Regarding the character of Dilsey in <em>The Sound and the Fury</em>, William Falkner himself writes, “There was Dilsey to be the future, to stand above the fallen ruins of the family like a ruined chimney, gaunt, patient, and indomitable.” Dilsey, conspicuously different from the Compson family, serves as a foil for their obsolete values. Through her character, Faulkner touches on a wide range of Southern issues: religion, labor, declining aristocracy, and morality, among others. As frequently discussed in contexts of time and religion, she provides a perspective which surpasses that of the Compson children’s narrations, evidenced in her well-known proclamation, “I seed de first en de last, … I seed de beginnin, en now I sees de end.” Recently, Dilsey’s relationship with time and religion have been discussed in separate contexts. Older criticism points to the intersection of these two principles as crucial to understanding Faulkner’s views on temporal space. In becoming what some critics have called an Alpha and Omega, she is able to perceive more than the past, present, and future, but eternity itself. However, the effects of this insight on her personal identity have been ignored. I propose, in consideration of the novel as a whole and Faulkner’s fifth narration, the appendix, Dilsey not only demonstrates her dynamism as a character, but a departure from tractable subservience. Her newfound temporal perspicacity does not result in Christ-like altruism; rather it ultimately transforms her selflessness into egoistic disregard for the Compson family.</p> Joel Eric Wilson Copyright (c) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0000 Subversive Coquetry: The Female Villain and National Morality in Hannah Webster Foster’s The Coquette <p>This paper analyzes how Hannah Webster Foster’s <em>The Coquette</em> (1797) contributes to the evolution of the female villain in literature, particularly in relation to two other popular late-eighteenth century epistolary novels: Samuel Richardson’s <em>Clarissa</em> and Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’s <em>Les Liaisons Dangereuses</em>. Both of these European novels that predate <em>The Coquette</em> explore the development of female villains and how they complicate their respective societies’ ideas of virtue and morality. Richardson’s novel asserts that women who attempt to behave like men by indulging in sexual freedom deserve punishment, while Laclos illuminates the hypocrisy of the pre-Revolutionary aristocratic French society that masks its licentiousness behind a façade of respectability. On the surface, Foster’s American version of the fallen woman narrative does not seem to include an obviously evil female character like its European predecessors; upon closer examination, however, there is, in fact, a female villain in Foster’s novel: it is the protagonist Eliza herself, who is “both a victim of her circumstances and a transgressor against them” (Mulford xlvii).</p><p>In this paper, Richardson’s and Laclos’s female villains provide a backdrop to an exploration of the ways in which Eliza’s villainy is manifested in Foster’s novel. While Eliza is not a predatory female who seeks to destroy other women like the prostitutes in <em>Clarissa</em> or Madame de Merteuil in <em>Les Liaisons Dangereuses</em>, she does participate in self-destructive behavior that is also detrimental to emerging ideas of female agency in the young American republic. At the same time, Foster provides a poignant critique of American society’s treatment of its female citizenry based on antiquated patriarchal ideals.</p> Heather Finch Copyright (c) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0000 Chaucer, the Puppet Master: Role and Significance of Depiction in Festive Function <p>The idea of the puppet show where there is one puppet-master, telling tales from behind the puppets he is manipulating on strings seemed to reflect in Chaucer and the <em>Canterbury Tales </em>on so many levels. In this paper I look at the function of the <em>Canterbury Tales </em>from the functional role of Chaucer’s “puppets”, the pilgrims. As I look at the influences that shaped Chaucer as he constructed them, I also look at the various functions these constructs fulfilled. </p> Nidhi Rajkumar, Nidhi Rajkumar Copyright (c) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0000 Process-Oriented Imagination in Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856) by Harriet Beecher Stowe <p style="margin-bottom: 0in; line-height: 100%;"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman,serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Despite its remarkable nature of small narratives and voices of “dependant” as fissures or interruption in the history of slavery, Stowe’s <em>Dred</em> has been regarded as a novel of “futile” agency, reproduction of power and reappropriation of what it condemns. In many scholarly studies, the political worth of Stowe’s writing has been associated mainly with matriarchal utopian writing. Matriarchal utopia in terms of ahistorical and separatist world with overemphasis of “care” and male extinction is a limit itself on matriarchal literary politics. My research is an attempt to recuperate Stowe’s political agency embedded in her novel from the obscurities of traditional criticism by introducing its processual and conceptual feminist utopian writing. <em>Dred</em> is a narrative in which the acknowledgement of the inevitability of change is not disentangled from the material continuities of the history. Stowe does not eclipse realities rather engages with them industriously to scrutinize the knowledge of history with the hope to imagine a better future. The novel does not offer a “utopian myopia,” rather it contains multiple small narratives that weave together pragmatically to understand and disrupt the institutional structure of slavery.</span></span></p> Aisha Sadiq Copyright (c) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0000 Editor's Introduction Jessie Casteel Copyright (c) Mon, 17 Oct 2016 00:00:00 +0000