Performing autonomy: the widowed woman as fantasy
DOI link for Performing autonomy: the widowed woman as fantasy
Performing autonomy: the widowed woman as fantasy book
Eliante Donalger uses her dance routines to separate herself from her audience. In order to protect herself from the awakening of undesired feelings, Eliante redirects her energy away from people who might touch her and diminish her strength. This self-induced confinement, which Eliante creates through performance, reinforces her chaste position as a widow, rendering her both untouchable and dangerous. The attention she receives from her audience allows Eliante to define herself through the way others see her, while also allowing her a momentary escape from reality. Rachilde's ambiguous portrayal of the female sexual body is shown through her heroine's choice of costume in this first juggling performance. As a widow, Eliante is not like all women; even though she is free to engage in certain behaviour denied the single woman. Rachilde's choice of ending leaves the woman performer dead and renders the male spectators victorious; as a result, Rachilde presents readers with another poignant reversal of power.