The Alienated Clara: Intersectionality Perspectives in Adrienne Kennedy's The Owl Answers (Clara Yang Terpinggir: Perspektif Intersektionaliti di dalam Drama Adrienne Kennedy The Owl Answers)

Latifah Ismaeel Jabboury, Ruzy Suliza Hashim, Anita Harris Satkunananthan

Abstract


Critical works on Adrienne Kennedy’s The Owl Answers have been limited to the domains of surrealism and to the frame of literary criticism which situate Clara, the protagonist of The Owl Answers within a psychological context. Many critics find that the play is a portrait of a black woman who is searching for home and belonging in a world of discrimination and inequality. Clara is often regarded as a mixed-raced woman of fragmented psyche who remains confused about her identity. Within the perspective of intersectionality, however, we contend that the study of Clara’s character acquires new dimensions of analysis. This article addresses Clara’s alienation within the scope of three intersectional categories of her identity: race, gender and hybridity. Although she couldn’t hide her blackness, Clara tries her best to identify with her father’s white legacy, but all her efforts have been futile. As she recognizes that she has no hope at all to belong to this legacy, she feels entirely frustrated. The tragic outcome of The Owl Answers owes to psychological trauma experienced by Clara. We interrogate the overlapping oppressions endured by Clara through a study of how these three interlocking categories combine to shape her alienation right up to the point where it causes her to take her own life.

 

Keywords: Clara; The Owl Answers; alienation; Adrienne Kennedy; intersectionality

 

ABSTRAK

Penulisan kritis mengenai drama Adrienne Kennedy The Owl Answers sebelum ini terhad kepada domain-domain surrealisme serta rangka analisis kesusasteraan yang menghadkan Clara, watak utama The Owl Answers kepada pemahaman konteks psikologi. Ramai penganalisis berpendapat bahawa drama ini menggambarkan potret seorang wanita Afrika-Amerika yang mencari tempat di mana beliau tidak terpinggir di dalam dunia yang penuh diskriminasi dan ketidakadilan. Clara kerapkali diperlihatkan sebagai seorang wanita kacukan yang mempunyai ketidakpastian mengenai identitinya sendiri, dan ini menyebabkan ia mengalami pergolakan jiwa. Namun demikian, apabila peribadi Clara dianalisa daripada perspektif intersektionaliti, dimensi-dimensi baru peribadi beliau dapat diketengahkan. Berikutan daripada tujahan argumen ini, artikel ini mempertengahkan peminggiran Clara melalui skop tiga kategori intersektionaliti: bangsa, gender dan hibriditi. Analisa artikel ini bertujuan mempersoal serta menyerlahkan penganiayaan yang dialami oleh Clara dengan mengkaji bagaimana ketiga-tiga kategori interseksionaliti yang bertindihan telah membentuk peminggiran yang dialaminya. Untuk mencapai tujuan ini, artikel ini menggarap kaedah teoretikal interseksional untuk mengkaji dimensi peminggiran yang dialami oleh wanita-wanita kacukan Amerika-Afrika seperti yang terserlah di dalam drama ini.

 

Kata Kunci: Clara; The Owl Answers; peminggiran; Adrienne Kennedy; interseksionaliti


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References


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