Masters Thesis

Spirals of (re)knowing: an analysis of the construction of place/space in women’s communities through ceremony in Joy Harjo's poetry

My Master’s Project explores the construction of place/space in Harjo’s poems as a form of ceremony. I argue that Harjo utilizes language as a tool to construct the place/space necessary for her as well as her communities to engage in discourse with each other in resistance. The following elements of ceremony, time/memory and song/dance/drum are linked together with place/space through Harjo’s continued membership and contribution to her communities of women of color. Ultimately, I argue Harjo uses the strength she gains from her membership and contribution to her communities to confront and transform from her encounter with cultural knowing. I do so through a close analysis of the connections between Harjo, Harjo’s persona as speaker, and her communities in her poems “Anchorage,” “Call it Fear,” and “Strange Fruit.”

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