IJLLL 2020 Vol.6(3): 129-135 ISSN: 2382-6282
DOI: 10.18178/IJLLL.2020.6.3.264

Orlando Dies under the Oak Tree: How Pastiche will Save us in Postmodern Gender Trouble

Ying Hu and Yang Mu
Abstract—In Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando, the major character is constantly employing the self-fashioning strategy to strengthen her cultural intelligibility. The oak tree, namely the eye of patriarchal power in the text, supervises and regulates her demeanors. Experiencing the change from The Oak Tree to the oak tree, Orlando embraces her textual decapitation and symbolic death. The limited autonomy of Orlando’s aesthetic choices and mannerisms sheds light on the transsexual dilemma haunting those unintelligible bodies in the face of absolute gender dichotomy. Their self-fashioning strategy is reduced to an approach to be readable subjects and eventually effaced from history. Judith Butler proposes the parodic nature of gender practices and holds that the subversive gender politics cannot occur without recitation of prevalent norms. Orlando’s struggle is a classic example to show the lack of feasibility within the Butlerian logic: the deconstruction of heteronormativity is accessible but forever being accessed. Attempting to handle what parody cannot root out, this paper highlights pastiche as a possible alternative to randomize the gender discourses and the political context. Pastiche, occurring within culture, incurs partial signification of norms, and can possibly bring new life to the horizon of contemporary queer theories.

Index Terms—Orlando, parody, pastiche, gender trouble.

Ying Hu is with the School of Literatures, Languages & Cultures, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, EH8 9LH, UK (email: huying_andy@163.com).
Yang Mu is with the School of English Studies, Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, 100083, China (email: muyang@blcu.edu.cn).

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Cite:Ying Hu and Yang Mu, "Orlando Dies under the Oak Tree: How Pastiche will Save us in Postmodern Gender Trouble," International Journal of Languages, Literature and Linguistics vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 129-135, 2020.

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