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Title: Making the Future Tense: An Exploration of Sexual Violence and Temporality in Christa Wolf’s Kassandra
Authors: Hovsmith, Jaclyn
Advisors: Nagel, Barbara N.
Mülder-Bach, Inka
Department: German
Class Year: 2020
Abstract: This thesis explores the mythological figure of Cassandra through Christa Wolf’s novel Kassandra, which was published 1983 in both East and West Germany. In Greco-Roman mythology, Cassandra is a prophetess blessed with the gift of premonition, but cursed to be forever doubted by those around her. She is also canonically a survivor of sexual violence at the hands of Ajax the Lesser. Wolf’s Kassandra is a stream-of-consciousness novel that recounts her final moments and reflections before her death in Greece. Often read as a parable for political individualism or as a rebuttal of American feminism, the novel utilizes oscillating modes of temporality as well as various other philological structures to represent Cassandra’s evolving headspace as she faces her death. Through literary analysis this thesis aims to answer the following question: why is it difficult to believe Cassandra and, more broadly, survivors of sexual violence?
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en
Appears in Collections:German, 1958-2022

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