Patricia Highsmith: Spatial Parody

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Li Wanjie (14) 4D Literary Research Project Spatial Parody in the Novels of Patricia Highsmith Introduction To clarify the relationship between space and identity, Kevin Hetherington writes, “identity…is about spatiality…certain spaces act as sites for the performance of identity” (105). Spatiality is the conflux of identity performance and space, whereby a space can be infinitely appropriated and modified by the presence of a human subject within it. A natural corollary in the process of identification is the possibility, then, of spatial parody, which involves the reappropriation and remodification of a seemingly fixed space via a reversal or rejection of key features, smouch as power structures and social scripts, in favour of the…show more content…
As Josette Feral observes, “[the performance space]…is a representation of those undefined zones, reterritorialized sites inhabited by individuals without point of reference.” Performance, or “liminal ‘playing’ space” in the words of Frances Piper, evokes journey rather than destination; means rather than ends. Piper argues that the closet of Ripley, the cafes and hotels of Therese and Carol in The Price of Salt, are transitory spaces free from the dominant discourse of naturalised patriarchy and/or heterosexuality. In other words, performance in such spaces are a continual process of redefining the boundaries of the private/public binary typification of external environments, allowing for alternate models of identification. “In The Price of Salt,” Piper writes, “the collapsing of these spheres…operates to liberate the central protagonist, enabling her to rewrite her ‘self’ in the context of her (forbidden) lesbian desire. The ‘third sphere’…is a space of transit precisely because the women within those spaces define the spaces, as opposed to being defined by
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