Picking Up the Pieces: Embodied Theory in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power


  • Elinor Rooks University of Leeds




This article approaches Bessie Head's nove A Question of Power as a work of vernacular theory engaged with the interactions between power, identity, goodness and suffering. The text's difficulties are seen, first, as characterstics of embattled theory, in which there is no possibility of safe remove or calm reflection. Further, these difficulties are read as tactical, engaging the text and its reader in a form of madness which destablizes the realities formed by power. A fundamental tenent of Head's theory, 'be ordinary', is interrogated: how can ordinariness be disentangled from conformity? Being ordinary may be understood as becoming everyone--a process through which Elizabeth's identity is shattered. Schizophrenic breakdown becomes, then, a position from which Elizabeth can theorise the repressive operations of identity and the intimate functionings of power.


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How to Cite

Rooks, E. (2017). Picking Up the Pieces: Embodied Theory in Bessie Head’s A Question of Power. Pivot: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies and Thought, 6(1). https://doi.org/10.25071/2369-7326.40276



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