Adelina Vartolomei, Possessing the Secret of Joy in Self-Exile

Possessing the Secret of Joy in Self-Exile

Abstract: The paper will focus on one of Alice Walker‟s novels,  Possessing the Secret of Joy, which deals with the ritual of female  circumcision.  The African American writer states that torture should not be part  of culture and this circumcision involves the scarring of women‟s bodies. It is different from men‟s circumcision as it deprives young girls of future sexual pleasure and it may even lead to their death. For a better understanding, the article will also refer to Warrior Marks: Female Genital Mutilation and the Sexual Blinding of  Women,  a  collection  of  stories  and  journal  entries  which  served  as  the  basis  for  a documentary on which Alice Walker collaborated with Pratibha Parmar. This documentary presents in greater detail the turmoil African women have to endure, which forces some of them to run away from home. As they reject tradition, their own parents disown them and the young women have to spend the rest of their lives in exile. The protagonist of Possessing the Secret of Joy is torn between the demands of her ancestors and her own personal needs as she tries to escape her past.

Keywords: circumcision, African rituals, exile, tradition, mutilation, sexuality

To cite the article: Adelina Vartolomei, (2012) ,”Possessing the Secret of Joy in Self-Exile”, International Journal of Cross-Cultural Studies and Environmental Communication NO. 1 2012, Vol. 1 Iss: 1, pp. 67 – 77

Adelina Vartolomei graduated from the American Studies B.A. Program, Ovidius  University,  Constanţa  in  2008  and  from  the  M.A.  Program  in Anglo-American  Studies  at  the  same  university  in  2010.  Her  M.A. dissertation entitled In with the Old, Out with the New: The Black Woman‟s Doppelganger  before  the  Civil  War  received  the  2010  RAAS  Graduate Student Award. She is currently working on her Ph.D. thesis which focuses on constructions of female identity in Alice Walker‘s fiction.

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