Five Lines for the Traveler's Phrasebook

by Engberg, Melissa

Abstract (Summary)
This thesis, titled 'Five Lines for the Traveler's Phrasebook,' is a collection of five short stories, all of which are centered around the experience of women in developing nations. Because I have dedicated my time in this program not only to the work of writing fiction, but to expanding my knowledge of literary theory through the cross-disciplinary opportunities afforded to me by this program. Therefore, my thesis collection is significantly influenced by the work of multicultural and feminist theory, particularly Gayatri Spivak and her question of whether or not the subaltern can speak. Spivak's chief claim, made in her essay 'Can the Subaltern Speak,' is that the impermeable cultural barrier that exists between East and West make such speaking essentially impossible; the subaltern is not equipped with the tools of Western discourse necessary to 'speak' in a manner which would be comprehensible to the western world, and gaining such rhetorical tools necessitates a Western education that produces a discourse discernable to the West, but no longer representative of the subaltern. As a white woman of a privileged class, my attempts to explore the question of whether the subaltern can speak are, of course, unavoidably tied to my cultural background. Therefore, many of the stories in this collection are told from the perspective of a western protagonist. Those that are not chiefly focus on interpersonal relationships; my goal here has been to express those human experiences which might reasonably be regarded as universal, and allow the experiences of the subaltern to exist within the larger context of the stories.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:subaltern post colonial feminist


Date of Publication:01/01/2008

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