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The Brain and the Living World in Janet Frame’s Faces in the Water

The Brain and the Living World in Janet Frame’s Faces in the Water

Chapter:
(p.192) The Brain and the Living World in Janet Frame’s Faces in the Water
Source:
Affective Materialities
Author(s):
Mary Elene Wood
Publisher:
University Press of Florida
DOI:10.5744/florida/9780813056289.003.0009

Mary Wood examines New Zealander Janet Frame’s representations of the human brain as “mysterious entity” on the borders of humanness in Faces in the Water. Wood argues Frame resists existing medical narratives of the brain which sought to know, in inherently ethnocentric ways, human insides only by their material shell—the skull. The feminized postcolonial body of Frame’s character is, Wood concludes, paradoxically threatened by the reduction of her mind to dead matter, as well as able to find new agency by associating her self across fleshly boundaries, finding the seat of her identity to be co-located in the surrounding landscape of her decolonized environment.

Keywords:   Janet Frame, Faces in the Water, postcolonial body

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