The Shifting of Power in Jean Genet’s The Maids: Unsuccessful Rebellion of the “Other”?

Nurulhady, Eta Farmacelia (2012) The Shifting of Power in Jean Genet’s The Maids: Unsuccessful Rebellion of the “Other”? In: Prosiding Konferensi Internasional Kesusastraan XXII UNY-HISKI “The Role of Literature in Enhancing Humanity and National Identity”. November 2012. ISBN: 978-602-19215-2-4.. (In Press)



Claire and Solange are the maids in Jean Genet’s The Maids. Having no life outside their servitude, the maids are “the other,” the submissive and subordinate. The maids invented a make-believe world in which they play roles as being a mistress and a servant. In the absence of the real Madame, Claire and Solange exercise a ritual of Madame humiliating her servant who in turn is supposed to murder her. The shifting of power is seen as the maids who are socially powerless threaten to murder Madame and take the power. However, the ritual never comes to its ends; Claire is never able to kill Madame played by Solange. Not being proud of themselves, the maids do not have a compelling basis for their rebellion. As the oppressed, the maids tend to be reactive, and their values are accordingly weaker, while Madame, representing the ruling class, actively controls their destiny with stronger values. Having been tried but unable to conduct the crime of killing Madame, both in the make-believe world and in reality, Solange finally seeks an escape in the illusory criminal world in which she is already the famous criminal. Having tried too long to come to term with being the “other,” Solange finally breaks down and becomes everyone else. Key words: the other, make-believe, the oppressed, the ruling class, shifting of power.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects:A General Works > AC Collections. Series. Collected works
Divisions:Faculty of Humanities > Department of English
ID Code:44543
Deposited On:26 Nov 2014 14:43
Last Modified:26 Nov 2014 14:43

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