‘She Knows the Doll Head Because it’s Part of Her’: The Body in Pure (By Noortje K, Jen T and Alexandria R)

The construction of Pressia’s body in Pure sees signifiers inscribed on the body in a very literal way. Foucalt sees the body as an ‘object and target of power’—it can be ‘manipulated and shaped’ (136), and the population outside the Dome have bodies that have been literally manipulated and shaped by the Detonation. This theme of the re-inscribed body in the text ties in closely with the concept of girlhood, and of Pressia’s struggle with her own body and its limitations, especially as she has a doll’s head fused to her, which can be seen itself as a symbol of girlhood. She thinks she was ‘too old for a doll’ (Baggott 9) when she remembers the Detonation, and this is indeed the moment where she is forced to grow up. As Pressia has her childhood ripped away from her, an object from that childhood becomes a permanent part of her. The doll head is a symbol not only of childhood but of girlhood and femininity, which Pressia can’t escape.

While Pressia is embarrassed by the doll head and tries to hide it using a sock or her sleeve, reminiscent of Cinder hiding her cyborg hand, it doesn’t seem to physically limit her in any way but serves as a reminder of her status. She manufactures mechanical toys and has no problem with physical activities, and is active, intelligent and focused on her goals. The character’s experience of girlhood is her struggle for survival, and she is mostly unconcerned with her appearance and romance. Yet despite all this the doll head persists as a means of control she can’t get rid of, inscribed on her body as a reminder of her powerlessness against the system that she lives in. It is described as not merely attached to her but a part of her, showing the interconnectedness of her experience of girlhood and the atrocities committed by the powers in her society; there is no way for her to separate herself from these things. As Bradwell argues in the text, the objects that have fused to people are a part of them and their history, and he ‘wears [his] marks with pride’ (Baggott 166).

Similarly, the women Partridge and Bradwell later discover have jewellery and garden shears fused into them, the symbols of their hated former lives as suburban housewives. Just as the parts of the housewives’ lives–their gardening equipment, jewellery and even their children–become twisted and horrific as they fuse after the detonation; the doll, an innocent symbol of childhood, also becomes monstrous. In this way, Pressia’s fused ‘doll-head fist’ can also be seen as symbolising the monstrous feminine; through the doll’s head girlhood is seen as ‘shocking, terrifying, horrific, abject’ (Creed 67). The reader sees her body as disturbing and abject, and Pressia herself is at times alienated from her own body. Baggott draws on tropes of body horror in creating the people fused with objects, animals, and other people—using a genre that ‘constructs and confronts us with the fascinating…aspect of abjection’ (Creed 70). By making the site of the abject a symbol of girlhood, Baggott can explore Pressia’s specific experience of being a girl and a victim of the Detonation in relation to the body.

In this way, the ‘wretches’, or fused people outside of the Dome are the Other or abject in society. Creed argues that ‘the place of the abject is ‘the place where meaning collapses’, the place where ‘I’ am not’. To the subjects of the Dome, the outside world is the ‘place where ‘I’ am not’, and contains a collapse of meaning as people, institutions and order do not exist as they recognise it. It is the site of the dangerous and threatening Other, and must be ‘radically excluded’ (Creed 71) through means of the Dome walls. The border between the Dome and outside world is a physical barrier but also acts, according to Creed’s ideas of borders, to produce the ‘monstrous’; the fused people are excluded and become abject. For Pressia, this means she is alienated from herself as a human and as a girl. By being outside the Dome and fused, her body is outside the barrier of normal girlhood and instead is the site of abject girlhood. This is constructed in a literal way by the border of the Dome, as it is being outside these borders which has physically changed her body. Furthermore, Creed (71) states that ‘the monstrous is produced at the border which separates those who take up their proper gender roles from those who do not’. Pressia cannot be seen as a girl from those inside the Dome; as well as not conforming to gender roles she is outside this border, so her body is, again, constructed as monstrous. This alienation from her own body is again shown through how Pressia hides her doll-head fist, and remembers at one point trying to cut it off; an act of self-mutilation since it is so completely fused that it is a part of her.

The people fused in more extreme ways, like the dusts who are fused with the ground, further bring up wider questions of humanity and the line between human and non-human. This can be linked to Creed’s analysis of the monstrous and the horror film, which describes the horror genre as ‘the fascinating, seductive aspect of abjection’ (Creed 70). Creatures such as vampires, described as ‘bodies without souls’, or zombies, ‘living corpses’ (Creed 70),  can be related to Pure through the groupies or creatures fused enough to not be considered human anymore, which raises the question of the positioning of the boundary between human and non-human. Pressia and Bradwell are, regardless of their fusions, still considered human, whereas the ‘dusts’ are fused in a way that does not keep their humanity intact. Although these creatures still have ‘human’ features, such as eyes, they are portrayed as non-human, animalistic, and monstrous. Humans, animals, earth, and objects are ‘mixed’ through fusion (Baggott 25), which creates complex and diverse creatures that act individually from each other.

Another interesting way to look at this distinction of humanity is the difference in perspective regarding people inside- and outside the dome. To the people inside the dome, anyone who lives on the outside is ‘deformed, no longer human’ (Baggott 176). However, to the people on the outside, there are more aspects involved in defining humanity. To the Pures, anyone who isn’t Pure is considered non-human, whereas for non-Pures, the ‘scope’ of humanity is more important. Furthermore, Foucaults’s description of a ‘political anatomy’ can also be linked to Pure. This term is described as control over someone’s body, ‘with the techniques, speed, and efficiency that one determines’ (Foucault, 138). One way to look at this definition is through coding of the Pure within the dome. Young men are physically and mentally ‘coded’ in order to be controlled and utilized by the government. Their physical abilities are heightened, they become faster, larger, and stronger through manipulation, and their brains are installed to think in favor of the government and its policies. Coding can therefore be related to Foucault’s docile bodies theory in a quite literal way, a ‘policy of co-ercions that act upon the body’ (Foucalt 138). When looking at the fusion of animals and humans during the Detonations, there is a clear distinction between ‘human’ and ‘non-human’. But what is to determine who is in ‘control’? Why have some people fused more than others, and what decides whether or not someone is considered human? Here, again, the humanity boundary comes to mind. The way Foucault describes docile bodies as subjected (138) can be linked to for example El Capitan, whose brother is fused to his back, yet El Capitan is clearly in control.

Ultimately, the fused bodies in Pure are re-inscribed and controlled by the state, and the Pures themselves are controlled through coding that alters their behaviour. While both groups are controlled, the borders of the Dome separate the groups, othering fused bodies and constructing them as inhuman or monstrous. For Pressia, this means coming to terms with her own body as the abject and her doll-head fist as an enforced sign of femininity inscribed upon it.

Discussion Questions:

  1. To what extent does Pure signify current society and its docility? Should it be seen as a metaphor for government control, or is it only speculative?
  2. Are there any other examples of Foucault’s description of docility within the novel?
  3. How do these ideas of control and domesticity tie into ideas of girlhood?

Works Cited:

Julianna Baggott: Pure

Barbara Creed: The Monstrous Feminine
http://www.blue-sunshine.com/tl_files/images/Week2-Creed-MonstrousFeminine.pdf

Michel Foucalt: Docile Bodies
https://owl.uwo.ca/access/content/group/40442653-c875-4c2b-a864-737c07d156db/Readings/Foucault%2C%20Docile%20Bodies.pdf

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “‘She Knows the Doll Head Because it’s Part of Her’: The Body in Pure (By Noortje K, Jen T and Alexandria R)

  1. When mentioning control within the Dome, you did not mention the control of girlhood and femininity. Females within the Dome are control just as much as males are. Although males of physically and mentally altered to promote complacency, the females experience just as much control over their bodies. Females are controlled by the idea of being sent to the asylum. There is limited information about what happens over there, but very few females come back. When a female in the Dome is seen not conforming to the society, she is taken away and at the very best, told that she is not suitable for reproduction. Females within the dome lack bodily integrity and also have the chance to be coded once they have been deemed unacceptable to be used in reproduction. The fear of being taken to the asylum and having their one “purpose” taken away is a method for control. The girls are intimidated into submission.

    The society that the Dome is trying to create is a submissive and docile one. Like females, males are expected to be submissive to the leaders in their society. While males are typically supposed to be more dominant, for the most part, the leadership wants all of their people to be submissive. They are trying to make a superior type of human. In doing so, they are othering anyone who doesn’t fit their “cookie cutter” ideology of what it means to be “pure” and forcing people to conform.

    Like

  2. Noortje, Jen, and Alexandria–

    I commend you on this reading of “Pure” and the fusions of people, objects, animals, and the environment. Your use of Julia Kristeva’s theory of the abject, as explained here by Barbara Creed, is a very insightful application that I think works well in thinking about “Pure”. The idea that the objects or other beings that characters are fused with are symbols of things or ideas that the character’s reject points to the larger themes of girlhood, femininity, and control that can be seen throughout this novel. While the fusions serve on their own to represent the nuclear disaster that formed this society, when paired with the characters, the fusions represent everything the characters are not, yet everything they are forced to be (as you argued in your post).

    Through examples such as Pressia’s doll-head, or the women’s jewellery and garden tools, I think “Pure” does serve as a text that represents the docility in society. While your discussion question asked if “Pure” and the fusions should be seen as metaphors for government control, I would argue instead that these fusions and thus in turn, the novel as a whole, can be seen as metaphors for the societal constructions that control us.

    While in the fusions can be read within the novel as symbolizing governmental control in the society of “Pure”, if we are to read them and the novel as a representation of our own society, I would argue that they are perhaps more indicative of the societal constructions that control us and that are disseminated through to institutions such as the government. For example, as you indicated, the doll-head fused with Pressia represents the constricting notion of girlhood in our society, and the fusion of the pearl necklace or of the gardening tools represents the construction of domesticity being a female characteristic that prevails within our society and serves to control women through the stereotypes of feminist. Additionally, characters such as the Dusts I think can be read as symbolic for the relationship between human the environment. While this might be stretching it a bit, I wonder if we can read the Dusts as symbols for the idea that humans and the environment are not independent, and thus have a intertwined relationship where they each affect each other. As well, the characters that are fused with non-human animals, I would argue, could be read as symbols for the closeness between humans and other animals, and representing the idea that in some biological and evolutionary ways, humans and non-human animals are not as different as society likes to believe they are.

    I think all of these representations point to the idea of docility, both within our society and within the society of “Pure”. Where the fusions represent symbols of the constructs of society, such as girlhood, femininity, and our relationship to the environment and non-human animals, these constructions symbolized render us docile bodies in our society, much like they render the characters docile bodies in “Pure”.

    I think it’s a fascinating thing that Juliana Baggott as done by manifesting our societal constructions that are intangible into physical, tangible objects that can be seen, felt, and whose repercussions and obstructions can be equally seen and felt. Baggott has taken society’s constructions of girlhood, femininity, etc. and made them into tangible objects inscribed and fused onto the physical body that constrict, label, and affect the characters in the same way that the societal constructs and ideas do. She’s taken society’s ideologies and turned them into physical manifestations to be seen as well as felt.

    Like

  3. Noortje, Jen and Alexandria –

    I think it is really interesting to consider Baggott’s definition of human versus non-human. There are often times throughout the novel that this notion can be contradictory. Specifically, I wanted to expand on your argument about the people inside the Dome. You mention that those within the Dome consider anyone without to be “deformed, no longer human” (176). You then go on to discuss the mutilations of the Special Forces and how that contributes to Foucault’s “Docile Bodies”. What I felt was missing from your analysis was a discussion of the Dome’s hypocritical perspective on fusions.

    As you said, the Pure’s consider anyone who isn’t pure to be non-human. This prompts an analysis of the definition of “pureness”. Those inside the Dome have untouched, perfect skin, but are they ‘pure’ through and through? The coding is what challenges this notion. One might argue that to be ‘pure’ is to be completely untouched or altered; however, the boys within the dome are coded to perfection. Thus, is it really fair to call them ‘pure’?

    Delving even deeper, it is important to remember that the coding is a stepping stone towards Special Forces training. The Dome government systematically ‘perfects’ the male members of society, weeding out the weaknesses. The best of the best are then recruited to the Special Forces, an elite militia. Then the coding is taken a step further, replicating the fusions of the outside world by taking the best animalistic traits and fusing them to the soldiers. This results in a kind of sub-human force of power.

    This is problematic. The Dome’s society enforces an otherness upon those outside, rendering them as mutilated monsters; and yet, their very system is creating a perfected version of the wretches. It is ironic, and hypocritical, that those within the Dome are being ‘protected’ by the very beings that they discriminate against.

    Like

  4. You offer a really interesting analysis of the meaning behind the fusions in Pure. I agree that the doll head is a clear symbol of Pressia’s girlhood, but as such, it is important to relate it to the theme of memory in the novel. The objects that are permanently fused to those outside the Dome memorialize the moment they were effected by the nuclear strike. For example, the garden shears and jewellery that are now a part of the women’s bodies, which you describe as “the symbols of their hated former lives as suburban housewives,” inevitably trigger memories of the moment they became attached to those objects, as well as their former lives. Similarly, the doll head is a reminder of the moment Pressia became fused, as well as her childhood before the detonation. It is not just that Pressia resents the unsettling appearance of the doll head fist or that it confuses her identity, but it is also an endless source of painful memories.

    Furthermore, you effectively argue that the deformities alienate those outside the Dome, but on the other hand, they represent shared memories that have the potential to unite those who remember the detonation. Although the fusions do set them apart from the pures, they are an important visible reminder of their shared experience, and this idea can be harnessed for revolution by characters such as Bradwell.

    Like

    1. I agree that memory is key to the novel. I would extend Colette’s points about memory to argue that trauma and memory are key to the novel. The characters can’t trust their memories because of the trauma they have experienced through the detonations and through life after.

      Like

  5. It is interesting how you discussed the relationship between the way Pressia views her doll head fist and the way teenage female readers may view their own bodies: as something abject. I hadn’t thought about that when reading the book, and I think it makes Pressia’s act of attempting to remove the doll head even more meaningful. Girls in modern society are constantly told that their bodies are too fat, too thin, too tall, too short, too this, too that – and so girls do everything they can to alter their supposedly ugly bodies. You noted that Pressia’s attempt to remove the doll was an act of self-mutilation, since it is a part of her, and this is unfortunately paralleled in real-life girls as well. Many girls who are unsatisfied with their bodies turn to self-mutilation as a coping method. This makes the moment when Bradwell tells her that her self-inflicted scar is beautiful even more meaningful – just as he sees it as a sign of survival in Pressia, it can be difficult for girls to survive in modern society when the media and their peers are constantly telling them that their bodies are “wrong.” Thanks for your reading and an interesting new perspective on this aspect of Pure.

    Like

  6. It is very relevant that in Pure it is the body that defines a person. I do not see, however, Pure as signifying current control and docility outside of the dome. While inside the dome the pures are held to many rules, regulations and ‘improvements’, such as the coding, the outside functions differently. Pressia’s world is one without real rules. The only knowledge we are given is about the OSR and even this is not really a government force, nor does it seem a very liked one as all of the citizens outside of the OSR seem to hate and fear it. I believe that Pressia’s society is free, in a sense, and therefor cannot reflect our own society. The dome however could be seen as a metaphor for government control because the pures have so little choice and are watched no matter what they are doing.
    What I find important is how you have defined humanity to both the pures and non pures: “To the Pures, anyone who isn’t Pure is considered non-human, whereas for non-Pures, the ‘scope’ of humanity is more important.” I think that it is this reflection on what it is to be human that governs Pressia’s society. While they might not have laws they all agree on differences between things such as Dusts and humans. This is what governs how the people interact and treat one another. It is clear that Pressia reacts differently when faced with killing the boy at the camp than she does killing the dusts. Both of these were once human but they are treated differently and it is a kind of code of humanity that allows the outside world to run. This distinction of the body, and how human a body appears to be is a governing force.

    Like

  7. Noortje, Jen, and Alexandria –

    I enjoyed reading your perspective on the symbolization of Pressia’s fused doll head, and how it’s deeply intertwined with her girlhood. I want to comment specifically on two things that I recognized reading your post. First of all, the idea that innocence and childhood are implicated through the fused doll points to a larger trend in modern girlhood. I would argue that women and girls are automatically presumed to be innocent. Moreover, they are expected to be innocent – even childlike (for example, in their emotions or mannerisms). Therefore, Pressia loses agency through fusing with something so explicitly feminine and infantile. The doll – her fusion – acts as an identifier; it says something about the person you were at the time of the detonation, and that reality becomes inescapable.

    The second thing I wanted to touch on was the idea of the “monstrous feminine.” Pressia being fused with a doll head – whose eyes appear to blink and who is inseparable from her physical body – is quite monstrous, to say the least. The symbol of the doll is especially significant in this connection because it positions femininity as something scary, something to be feared. And what girl wouldn’t be embarrassed by being monstrous? Pressia wants to hide herself, arguably, because being feminine is bad. Even in modern society, being told you act “like a girl,” or throw “like a girl” is considered to be an insult. Overall, I totally agreed with your argument – thanks for offering your perspective!

    Like

    1. You raise some really great points here, Jessica. I want to push back a bit on Pressia’s loss of agency via the doll’s head. I agree that the doll’s head is explicitly feminine and infantile. I don’t know that she loses agency though. I would assert that she struggles to come to terms with the doll’s head and what it means for her sense of self. She certainly resents it and even despises it, trying to hide it as it embarrasses her. But she also learns to move it and to use it as a hand of sorts. She begins to come to terms with it throughout the novel as she observes that others value their fusings.

      Like

  8. Noortje, Jen, and Alexandria –

    I really enjoyed reading your perspective on girlhood and the body, I agree with your argument! One thing I realized while reading your post, is that Pressia’s doll hand representing childhood and femininity may be frustrating for Pressia, however, her fusion causes no one in her immediate environment to target or shame her. The doll hand can be taken as a weakness in terms of physical ability (no opposable thumb, climbing, fighting, carrying things), however in terms of status or perception, you mentioned in your post that everyone else outside the dome is proud of their fused bodies which means Pressia is alone in hating herself and her Doll hand. Because your post had such a focus on girlhood and the body, Pressia’s hatred for her hand struck me as a kind of body dysmorphia, however instead of Pressia basing her perception of the “ideal body” on her current society, she was building it on her memory of the past. While both females and males of today’s society might see distorted, inaccurate versions of themselves as a result of overexposure to images of ideal, unattainable bodies, the obsession with life before the detonations causes Pressia to idealize and obsess over the past, and keeps her from accepting her fused hand with pride as her community members do. Pressia’s grandfather’s obsession with her mother’s beauty might also contribute to her hatred for her hand. He often speaks to Pressia about how young and pure and beautiful his daughter was, and although Pressia does not remember much from before the detonations, the constant focus on her mother’s beauty could have seriously affected the way she viewed herself, and forced her to consider her own body as an unacceptable version in comparison.

    Once again I really enjoyed reading your post!

    Sarah.

    Like

  9. Noortje and Alexandria,
    I find your analysis of docility and control in relation to body integrity to be interesting and very relevant in relation to “Pure”. However, I must argue that it is important to nuance aspects of girlhood in relation to bodies outside the Dome compared to girlhood within the Dome – the two societies are separate and different, and must be treated as such. You argue that Pressia’s fused body being located outside the barrier of the Dome renders her body “outside the barrier of normal girlhood and instead the site of abject girlhood.” In response to this, I assert that her fused body outside of the Dome does not produce her as outside of girlhood, as her fusion to a doll’s head maintains her status as a girl directly and always recognizable through her body form. Furthermore, girlhood itself is a social construction, just as gender, race, ability, sexuality, class (and every other identity categorization), it is constructed by the ways in which social and cultural forces interact with a subject. Thus if girlhood is not some innate phenomenon, then it must shift and change within each and every socio-historic moment. In this regard then, we must separate norms and expectations of girlhood inside the Dome, which would see Pressia’s fused body as outside and abject from ‘girlhood’ as you argue, from that of girlhood outside the Dome, in which Pressia’s body represents the norm. If all bodies in this outside the Dome social space are mutated, fused, and abject, then Pressia’s body conforms to expectations of normalcy: her body is just like everyone else’s. In addition, because she is fused to a doll head, her body can be read as even more representative of girlhood than many other girls in her society. As such, though I agree that in comparison to the non-fused bodies within the Dome Pressia’s body does appear abject and non-conformational, within her outside the Dome society her body necessarily fits within the confines of expected girlhood physicality.
    In response to your second discussion question then, we can see Foucaut’s docile bodies everywhere within this novel, especially when separating the inside vs. outside the Dome social spaces. As many other comments have argued here, docility is very much present within the women inside the Dome, as they are forced to act in ways that support and promote their femininity and fertility, and are excluded from public spheres such as education. The women inside the dome must self-police their docility or risk being admitted to the rehabilitation center, a space that not many seem to come out of. Docility can also be seen in women outside the Dome, most explicitly as evidenced by Ingership’s wife. Ingership’s wife, in wearing her stocking as a second skin, physically embodies feminine expectations, and must conform to a specific model of ‘woman’ that her husband desires. She must act domestic, dress appropriately, and appear in all ways as the ideal wife, woman, and citizen. In this manner, she both self-polices and is policed by Ingership himself to remain docile.

    Like

  10. You discuss, in detail, the fushions outside of the Dome and how that makes them a docile body that are lacking control. In your post, you ask “who is in control?”

    The only person who seems to have the most control is Patridge’s father, Willux. He is the one who stole the nanotechnology that would fuse humans to their surroundings. He did this to create a subhuman species outside of the Dome, probably hoping to create some sort of slave labour.

    Willux goes even further than just fusing the people outside of the Dome with things. He takes the “elite force” and after coding their minds to behave how they please, they also physically fuse them with things like guns. He is making beasts out of the “Pures” that can be used to fight and protect the Dome.

    This part has me thinking a lot of what it means to be considered a “Pure”. I originally believe that someone is Pure if they were inside the Dome during the detonations. But what does it mean when a Pure is getting altered so they are like a better version of a ‘wretch’. I have noticed that people who are considered ‘wretches’ have significantly more control of their life than a Pure, especially the elite force.

    The alteration of these bodies has me thinking a lot about Propaganda too. Patridge is told that is brother committed suicide when he was actually sent outside of the Dome once he was altered from being a Pure. How many other people were claimed to die from suicide while, in reality, are alive and being forced to become a fused person? Should we believe everything we are told? Or become suspicious of news brought to us by a co-operation/government?

    Like

    1. Hi Brianna, I liked the way you described Willux’ control both inside and outside the Dome. To take this theory even further, I started to think about the way in which he uses this control, and whether or not this control is elaborate. When using nano-technology to ‘bomb’ the outside world, was it really Willux’ intention to fuse people, thus to make them less human? This could also just be a side-effect, something that’s beyond his control. By stating that Willux is control of all fusions and the way in which the ‘outside’ functions as a society provides a lot of pressure on Willux himself. I have not read the sequel to this book, but I am extremely curious to find out whether Willux’ plans are a part of a larger conspiracy theory, or whether most of the happenings occurred on accident?

      Like

  11. There is a clear class divide as depicted within Julianna Baggott’s “Pure”, one that is representative of the overarching nature of our society. While Pure’s society is post-apocalyptic, it us used to critique aspects of our current society. Control is embedded in the social constructions of our society. It enables us to follow a certain script in order to function “normally”. This type of conformity brings to light the idea of the coding done inside of the dome. Although we are not physically altered to believe certain things, the nature of being raised in a society like ours, inherently teaches us these ways of living.

    The doll head fused to Pressia’s arm outlines a significant concept within “Pure”. While the doll head is intended to represent the docile femininity associated with girlhood, Pressia embodies quite the opposite. Even though Baggott uses the doll head example to explicate the ideas of control and domesticity, Pressia’s character is essentially used to critique said concept. Pressia is the provider for her family. This responsibility assumes the opposite of docility. When Pressia meets Partridge, she is careful to tell him only so much about life outside the Dome, ensuring his need to keep her around. Pressia uses this to her advantage by manipulating the situation to her benefit. In the overall idea of the society, Partridge is of higher class than Pressia. However, in this situation and outside of the Dome, Pressia’s knowledge allows her to remain of higher status in order to maintain their survival.

    Like

  12. I think you’ve pose some interesting questions about how Pure signifies current issues of docility in society. In response to your first question, the jewels fused onto to the women signify feminine markers with respect to dress codes women subscribe to, moreover, as you have mentioned in your post, their jewelry and garden tools as markers of their former former roles as housewives. Pressia’s doll fist/hand is a marker of girlhood as it represents the types of toys girls should presumably play with, of all things Pressia’s mother could have given her as a gift, she chose to give her a doll. These are all forms of more general social control that was previously normalized within society in the novel. Government control is more explicit in the Dome as young men are being manipulated to think within the strictures the government has set up, they are meant to follow and protect the structured values within the Dome. Meanwhile young women must police their behavior so that they are not placed in the asylum for not conforming. By behaving outside of desired social norms they risk being deemed unfit to reproduce. Reproduction in the Dome defines the value of women and therefore if they are denied the ability to reproduce they are robbed of their limited function within the Dome, as such they are under pressure to police themselves and conform to the strictures set up. This also brings up the issue of females in the Dome being very limited in comparison to those outside as their value and any future prospects are restricted to their ability to reproduce; concerns for females outside of the Dome in contrast are different, their concern for survival is defined beyond their ability to reproduce.

    Like

  13. In regards to your third question, Pure focuses on the stereotypes of girlhood that are still relevant in current society. Girls today are socially constructed to be submissive and docile; Foucault’s theory of controlling army soldiers in the 1700s and 1800s. Making soldiers submissive and docile made them easier to train, as the body is a target of power. In Pure, Pressia’s doll conflicts with her enforced status of being a soldier, but like as you have said, the doll “doesn’t seem to physically limit her in any way but serves as a reminder of her status” as a girl and as a Fused.

    Docility and submissiveness is present in the world of Pure and is a metaphor for government control; the Dome aims to control its male citizens by transforming them into soldiers to obey their laws, and the young women are forced into being submissive because if they are not, they do not get the rights to reproduce. Just as Foucault notices that soldiers can be mentally transformed into conformity. Partridge is saved from being forced into conformity and becoming a ‘docile body’ when his mom forces him to take pills to stop his behavior from being coded. As for current society and docility, due to a large increase in social media websites, more people are conforming to different things; political and religious beliefs are the major ones. Our society breeds what are known as ‘sheeple’: people who are herded into a pen like sheep, frightened by whomever has power over us, being forced into docility.

    Like

    1. I really liked your comments in relation to people as “sheeple” in current society. I would argue that this idea of docility due to conformity is very interesting in relation to Pure. The idea of transforming males into soldiers in the Dome seems to parallel the “political soldiers” that are present today. In this sense, I would argue that the media transforms people into soldiers for their specific causes, forcing people to become “fused” to ideas.

      Like

  14. I find it interesting how you commented that “In this way, the ‘wretches’, or fused people outside of the Dome are the Other or abject in society.” I think the ‘us vs. them’ dynamic in this novel is much more complex and cannot be oversimplified as those in the Dome vs. those outside of the Dome. As you stated, “to the people on the outside, there are more aspects involved in defining humanity.” To the people outside of the dome, the Wretches, there are multiple Others.” This “scope of humanity” you discussed is the deciding factor for who is othered, and it is when they lean to far to the end of the spectrum of what is considered inhuman that I believe they are truly seen as Other in this novel. For instance, beings such as the Groupies, realistically, should be as human as they come; they are multiple people fused together after all! Despite their being physically human, the Groupies’ actions are what paint them as others to the Wretches. You also commented that those outside of the Dome are othered because, to those in the Dome, the outside world “contains a collapse of meaning as people, institutions and order do not exist as they recognize it.” I believe this extends to those outside of the Dome as well. The Wretches view both the Pures and the less human fusions as others because of this “collapse of meaning as people” and their difference in existence. I suggest that who are seen as Others in this novel depends on the perspective you are looking at. To those in the Dome everyone must be “‘radically excluded’ (Creed 71) through means of the Dome walls,” but to those outside it becomes much more complex. To the wretches it is more of an ‘us vs. them vs. them’ dynamic: the Wretches vs. those in the Dome vs. those outside the Dome that act uncivilized/ inhuman.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s