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Writing the SurvivorThe Rape Novel in Late Twentieth-Century American Fiction$
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Robin E. Field

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781942954835

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781942954835.001.0001

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Breaking Silence, Telling Tales

Breaking Silence, Telling Tales

Writing Rape in Novels of the 1970s

(p.69) Chapter Two Breaking Silence, Telling Tales
Writing the Survivor

Robin E. Field

Liverpool University Press

The first rape novels, written in the 1970s, demand that rape be understood as violation. The traditional readerly reaction of voyeuristic pleasure to depictions of rape is replaced by feelings of shock and horror more appropriate for this subject matter. The 1970s rape novel offers a new script for the rape story that focuses primarily on the experiences of the victim. This recentering is achieved through the unflinchingly realistic portrayal of sexual violence on the page. These novels portray rape as rape, allowing the reader to understand the violence enacted upon the victim’s body, the brutality impressed upon her mind, and the devastating personal and communal repercussions of the act.

Keywords:   Rape, Victim, Perpetrator, 1970s, The Bluest Eye, The Women’s Room, Corregidora, The Woman Warrior

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