Reading Vulnerability Through Objects in Dionne Brand’s What We All Long For

Kohler, S. (Oplægsholder)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Beneath the seemingly stable cityscape of Dionne Brand’s What We All Long
For lies a sense of uncertainty and vulnerability: The protagonist, Tuyen, a
second-generation Canadian, must negotiate her own position in Torontonian
society while continually “translating” the city for her immigrant parents. This
vulnerability is revealed partly through the novel’s preoccupation with material
goods. In her cluttered flat, Tuyen creates artistic assemblages out of found
objects, both familial and foreign. In their juxtaposition, these objects become
imbued with meaning in a way that takes them beyond the status of mere
possessions and turns them into metonyms of loss and symbols of precarity.
By considering possessions as a form of attachment in the novel, this paper
aims to show, pace Bruno Latour, how literature is able to create “matters of
concern” out of “matters of fact”: in this case, by translating the condition of
vulnerability into something that demands our care and attention.
Periode22. jun. 2018
BegivenhedstitelHermes 2018: Vulnerability
PlaceringRome, Italien
Grad af anerkendelseInternational