Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


 
Liz Bowen
Little Red Riding Hood,
the Deconstructionist:
Feminism and Derrida

Many students, myself included, find difficulty in deciphering the abstract rhetoric of literary theorists. In my studies of such criticism, I found that it often helped me to think theorists’ messages in terms of concepts with which I was already familiar, and although they were sometimes inexact physicalizations of metaphysical concepts, I often encountered striking parallels between literary and social theory. When I found myself wading through Jacques Derrida’s less-than-straightforward ideas about deconstructionism, I was particularly struck by his assertion that it is impossible to criticize language without being trapped within the confines of language itself. This reminded me first of a short story I had recently read, “The Company of Wolves” by Angela Carter, in which an adolescent girl sacrifices her virginity to a wolf to avoid being eaten, essentially working within the wolf’s malicious mindset in order to save her life. Carter’s works are often interpreted from a feminist (or anti-feminist) point of view, and this story could thereby be criticized for the fact that the main character, a female, only survives because she submits to a domineering male’s desires. Again, my thoughts returned to Derrida: his argument is central to one of the most contentious debates in the women’s liberation movement, which is the question of whether women should work within systems of patriarchy to achieve their goals (like the girl in Carter’s story), or whether they should separate themselves from the system entirely. Looking at Derrida’s theory of language and metaphysics through the more concrete lens of feminism allowed me to apply his concepts to real debates that have occurred and continue to occur in society today, as well as to better understand the more transcendent theories he aimed to convey.

Liz Bowen is a junior English and American studies major at Fordham College at Lincoln Center. She recently won the Ully Hirsch/Robert F. Nettleton Poetry Prize and she is looking forward to her position as Editor-in-Chief of the Fordham Observer for the 2010-2011 academic year. In addition to her love of writing, Liz is passionate about social justice and she is an active participant in Fordham’s Global Outreach program; she has been a member of GO! North Carolina and GO! Brazil, as well as the secretary of the Global Outreach Lincoln Center executive board. Hailing from Maryland, she will always be a country girl at heart, though she hopes to pursue social work and creative writing in the city after she graduates in 2011.


Sarah Molinari
The Hidden History of Slavery in New York and the Public's Unawareness
This essay discusses the misrepresentation of slavery in New York. While evidence about the North’s complicity with slavery exists, very few have examined why this history remains unknown to many and practically omitted from school curricula.

Sarah Molinari
is a junior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center with a major in Latin American Studies and a minor in Spanish. Sarah has always enjoyed critical writing and has a lot of experience in journalistic writing. After graduation in 2011, Sarah plans to go to graduate school for Social Work.

Maria Vasaturo
The Prophets: Lamentations
I wrote this paper for my class entitled "The Prophets". It was a thrilling class that also had a service-learning component, allowing us to see the connections between the prophetic books and the world today. I decided to write one of my papers on Lamentations because of its candid and honest language. It is unlike any of the other Old Testament books that we read in class. The challenge the professor gave us was not only to read closely the text but also to ask if this book could truly comfort someone who was grieving.

Maria Vasaturo is from Staten Island, New York. A junior ar Fordham College at Lincoln Center, she is majoring in Theology and minoring in Italian. Maria is also the Treasurer of the Italian Club at Lincoln Center, which is known as CIAO. She is very excited about this summer, when she will be studying Italian literature in Rome. Maria is also on the Dean's List and is a member of the National Italian American Foundation. She is considering becoming a lawyer.
 

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