Date of Award
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts
Donna Beth Ellard, Ph.D.
Body, Colonizing narratives, Decolonization, Fantasy literature, Performativity, Spectacle
This thesis engages the figure of the Chosen One in fantasy literature. The Chosen One arises as a key figure in fantasy and exists today in the Anglo-American literary imagination as a hero above other heroes. This figure embodies Anglo-American understandings of the Hero's Journey and savior narratives theorized by Joseph Campbell. It is a site of colonial triumph and violence and heteronormative white masculinity. Embedded into reiterations of Chosen Ones in American fantasy films and television, this body is being destabilized and decolonized.
In close readings of Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, Buffy Summers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and T'Challa in Black Panther, these characters decolonize the body of the Chosen One through the expected performance of this hero by engaging with Judith Butler's theory in Performativity. However, each of these characters experiences colonizing violence and narratives thrust upon them due to their racialized and gendered bodies, turning them into spectacles. These narratives confirm Anakin, Buffy, and T'Challa are antagonizing the heteronormative white male body. While the Chosen One has not been fully decolonized, the steps these characters are taking to change the performance and expected body of this identity show it to be changing for the better.
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Alise Marie Wisniewski
Received from ProQuest
Wisniewski, Alise M., "Decolonizing the Body of the Chosen One: The Bodily Performance of Anakin Skywalker, Buffy Summers, and T'Challa" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1632.
Literature, English literature, American literature