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In Other Words: Language, Gender and Female Voice in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen


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Puklavec, Matija. (2019). In Other Words: Language, Gender and Female Voice in Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen. Diploma Thesis. Filozofski fakultet u Zagrebu, Department of English Language and Literature. [mentor Polić, Vanja].

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This paper analyzes Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen. From the viewpoint of language wider ideological effects are discussed with an emphasis on the idea that Cree language has no gender. The first chapter shows how English language and worldview are intertwined with Cree perspective. Although Cree language is represented as humorous, it cannot be the language in which to voice post-colonial struggles. English becomes the language of resistance because Native Cree language and customs were erased by the colonial power. The term post-colonial is understood as a relationship between First Nations Cree and Canadian center. In the preface and at several points in the novel it is stated that First Nations Cree has no gender. The analysis attempts to uncover the wider significance of the genderlessness of Cree language (and perspective) using terms such as hybridity, abrogation, appropriation and gender performativity. The paper shows that the novel does not favor either side in the colonial opposition but argues for hybridity. The English perspective in the novel is shown to be intertwined with patriarchal modes of behavior. The idea of no gender is further developed in Gabriel, one of the characters in the novel. It is argued that he tries to live a life more in tune with Cree perspective. As a gay Native man, he struggles to live an ordinary life within a patriarchal and racist society. He, along with his brother Jeremiah, tries to subvert the dominant heterosexuality — Jeremiah as asexual who is haunted by images of violence committed against First Nations women and Gabriel as gay and two-spirited person. The analysis of the character of Gabriel uses Judith Butler’s theory on gender as performance and the notion of two-spirit – a unique First Nations idea that transcends the dyad of male versus female. The final chapter focuses on the representation of femininity. The society as represented from Cree perspective, under the influence of colonialism and Christianity, is burdened with masculine power that marginalizes female voice. Female characters are shown to exist on the margin. However, female voices are not completely silenced. Moreover, Cree worldview, mythology and way of life are permeated with images of female power.

Item Type: Diploma Thesis
Uncontrolled Keywords: First Nations Cree, language, gender, patriarchy, two-spirit, Tomson Highway, Kiss of the Fur Queen
Subjects: English language and literature
Departments: Department of English Language and Literature
Supervisor: Polić, Vanja
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2019 08:26
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2019 08:26

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