What We Talk About When We Talk About Humanizing People In Literature

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In the wake of the recent Supreme Court decision ruling that immigrants, documented or not, can be detained indefinitely without right to a bond hearing, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way we produce and consume narratives about class and race in contemporary American literature.

Textual Difficulty as a Feminist Gesture: On Books by Julia Story, Laurie Sheck, & Sarah Vap

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In his writings on the experience of cultural otherness, Georges Bataille once observed that the marginalized body exists at the periphery of a community, as it cannot be safely contained within or held outside it. Within the context of Bataille’s work, otherness is defined as a “separation,” a visible

Vampirism and Unlikable Female Characters in Alissa Nutting’s “Daniel”

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When it comes to women in traditional domestic fiction, likeability hinges on selflessness. While men in these types of stories are allowed agency over their comings and goings in a household, women are expected to continually give of themselves: bodily, spiritually, and emotionally.

Awayland by Ramona Ausubel

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It’s great fun to watch Ausubel’s enormous imagination at work and to share the joy that emerges from her writing. That said, the strongest, and most haunting, stories in the collection make the magical real as they examine loss.

Reimagining Immigration in a World of Portals

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I would argue that there is on one hand literature that allows readers to escape reality, and on the other hand literature that forces readers to see their reality more clearly. Mohsin Hamid has accomplished the latter in his imaginative novel published last year, Exit West, and it is

Showing Up; or, Passing “Thirty Under Thirty” Eligibility

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In Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer had tapped into that well of invisible truth, while I—an aspiring writer struggling to sit my ass long enough in a chair to produce anything at all—could only hope to scratch the surface.

Flora and the Passage of Time

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From Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, the temporality and fragility of flowers provide extensive ground for cultivating figurative meanings.

The Other America

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As Claudia Rankine’s new play The White Card premieres at Boston’s Paramount Theatre, Ploughshares is proud to publish Catina Bacote’s “The Other America,” which investigates police brutality and the failure of community policing in New Haven, Connecticut, discussing Rankine’s Citizen in relation to the author’s experiences.

The Sea Beast Takes a Lover by Michael Andreasen

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The Sea Beast Takes a Lover is the debut short story collection from Michael Andreasen. Through a mix of absurdism, hyperbole, science fiction, history, and fantasy, the author draws a map of washed-up American dreams and fears.

On Being Keepers: Heidi Julavits and Sarah Manguso’s Diaries

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Diaries offer writers, particularly women who historically have not had a public voice, space to reflect on and process their lives as they happen, as well as space to record the daily routines that compose a life.