The adage history repeats itself, like many adages, sometimes seem disingenuous; they are neatly packaged concepts that lack any definitive details that would give one a context to consider them properly. In Corregidora, there is an expansion of this idea of history and repetition. Gayl Jones uses a variety of catalysts to examine how the past manifests and affects characters in the present. These catalysts the historical, biological, and reproductive contexts tend to focus on the unwanted and uncalculated consequences of internalization.
Keywords: Ursa, Ann duCille, Ethical Ambiguities, Living the Legacy
[...] The motifs of blood, seed, and making generations are evidence of the transparency of the internalized document. The blood and seed no longer are mere biological components, but icons of the internalized documents, where they are immutable and natural. The forced incorporation of the Corregidora stories causes emotional side effects within all the generations; by makings slaves of Ursa's great grandmother and grandmother, Corregidora destroys their ability to love. The purpose of a female is be fucked,” (Jones 76) and because of this, the documents Ursa is forced to incorporate play out in her contemporary life. [...]
[...] She chooses to have an encounter with Mutt that is yielding, rather than submissive. This ability to yield in discovering her great grandmother's resistance to Corregidora breaks the cycle of the historical phantom, and thus the internalized document is no longer adopted, but simply existent. The repetition of the historical phantoms in Corregidora shows the traumatic effects of forced internalization. Though Ursa has a voice through her singing, off stage she can only make vague references to concepts she is able to address on stage. [...]
[...] Ursa learns from her grandmother that sexuality and reproduction are center of a woman's being.” (Jones 46) Ursa expands on the subject, stating, “Their past in my blood. I'm a blood. [ .]I have a birthmark between my legs. [ It ain't a pussy down there, it's a whole world. [ My veins are centuries meeting.” (Jones 45-6) And so the blood manifests as an immutable consequence of Corregidora. Ursa existence as a female is deemed purely biological in the sense that, she is unable to recognize the cause of her lack of feeling as being the forced incorporation of history. [...]
[...] Unlike the Corregidora stories alone, this dream hybrid of the events with Mutt and the loss of Ursa's reproductive ability is not cyclical, but a manner in which Ursa can calculate and break the cycle of being chained solely to patriarchal sexuality and reproduction. The historical phantoms emerge first with Mutt, and their sexual encounters. In dreams, Ursa tells Mutt, } you taught me what Corregidora taught Great Gram.” (Jones 76) Ursa relates their relationship back to the center of a woman; Corregidora taught Great Gram that the only supposed worth a woman has is sexual. [...]
[...] Concerning memory and history, Ranjana states, desire to form certain memories and histories causes some documents to be deemed relevant or irrelevant [ ] the reduction of archive to memory fails to account for [ ] an incorporation (or introjection) of that material[ The forced incorporation of the Corregidora stories is the reduction of affordances (incorporative or introjective) that the documents allow in the “reduction of archive to memory.”(Ranjana 116) The relevance of the materials presented in the Corregidora stories also is completely controlled by Ursa's grandmother; she chooses what material is relevant and irrelevant to her own position concerning the history. [...]
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