Reading William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha in the COVID-19 era
Face masking, lockdown and free bodies
Keywords:COVID-19, face masks, femininity, feminism, masculinity
Caught in the dilemma of the real and the fictitious, one can only wonder about the connection between literature and the Covid 19 global pandemic. As researcher interested in the writings of William Faulkner, I cannot help drawing analogies between the writer’s fictional Yoknapatawpha and our current Covid 19 situation. In the gendered reactions to the pandemic-imposed reality Yoknapatawpha is always resonant. Masculine rejection of face masks and the ideology underlying such a reaction, the mandatory lockdown which consequently led to rising domestic violence in addition to the popular slogan “My body, my choice” which went viral in social networks are all a reiteration of the narrative of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha. Drawing analogies between our contemporary real world and Faulkner’s fictitious county will lead to the conclusion that western cultures and societies have reproduced the same patriarchal ideologies and practices that governed Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha, turning the writer’s narrative world into a universal world that cannot be anchored in place or time. The paper will study the three phenomena as social realities that echo Faulkner’s fictitious county while referring to psychoanalytical and feminist theories.
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