Presenter(s): Amanda Ritz
Title: Instead of Madame, You Can Call Me Bellefleur
Developed under the guidance of Dr. Sherry Truffin , English
You hit like a girl. You cry like a girl. Stereotypically, female bodies and feminine emotions are considered weak. Joyce Carol Oates questions traditional female roles in American literature by challenging the dominance of the patriarch. Often in literature, female sexuality is a weakness exploited by the patriarch. However, in Bellefleur characters with powerful female sexuality and androgynous characteristics command the Bellefleur household. Leah and Germaine Bellefleur loosen the concrete wall of gender boundaries and surpass cultural limitations imposed on women. Their strong female roles challenge socially constructed roles of women in Bellefleur and in today’s modern American households.