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Ekphrasis And The Other In Picture Theory

672 words - 3 pages

Rita Dove’s Museum utilizes juxtapositions as a means to create a revision of history, to remove the ekphrasis fear mentioned in W. Mitchell’s essay “Ekphrasis and the Other” in Picture Theory. Dove, establishes a new history by blurring the lines of otherness, focusing more so on humanism, rather than female, and African American being something that is over come with otherness. In fact, as the article “Ekphrasis in the book: Rita Dove’s African American museum” mentions, “Dove’s long interest in ekphrasis both explicitly and implicitly in her use of it to dismantle otherness, to reach across the gaps between poet, image and audience.” Throughout Dove’s work she undoes the otherness reestablishing a connection between the histories then and presently, along with the self and other now, which can be seen in “Fiammetta Breaks Her Peace” and “Anti-Father.”
In the poem “Fiammetta Breaks Her Peace”, Fiammetta is a retelling of Boccaccio’s character and often muse in the Decameron. However, Dove provides a voice to the voiceless, removing the male gaze of otherness, using the significance of air and dust as themes throughout the collection. The greed of the plague is seen in the poem not only in the line “No one weeps anymore; just/waits” (Fiammetta 27), because the plague spread rapidly. Yet, Fiammetta explains how “he wanted me/beautiful! To be his fresh air/…stand still, he said/once, and let me admire you” (27-28). The significance of the male gaze prevalent in this poem because Fiammetta was the source of inspiration for Boccaccio, similar to Dante’s Beatrice or Petrarch’s Laura. Fiammetta not only “breaks her peace” in Dove’s poem, but also the central. Boccaccio did not select female character’s based on their Christian ideals or their classical virtues, but qualified the role of the woman as equal to that typically employed by men in literary works. Therefore, Dove’s exploration of Fiammetta speaking out, explores the inevitable of the plague, the different social construct during the time, and also the...

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