Making Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights a “she” reveals some of the presuppositions that structure the novel. The question arises: who follows whom where?
This calls to mind another occasion.
Ti-Grace Atkinson opens a speech she gave “On ‘Violence in the Women’s Movement'” (in Amazon Odyssey) with such gender unsettlement to make a point about allegiance.
I am dedicating my remarks tonight on violence to Sister Joseph Colombo. I am referring to America’s latest superstar, gangster, criminal: Joseph Colombo. You may have heard about how Superstar Colombo not content with his vertical media image, backed his head up into three bullets at Columbus Circle on June 28, 1971.
She at one point in her remarks tapped a picture to the podium.
In the book the photograph covers a whole page.
It is of course a provocation. Clear-eyed. Her peroration appears in all caps and rehearses the “sister” trope.
LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF DIANA OUGHTON. LONG LIVE ANGELA DAVIS. LONG LIVE BERNADINE DOHRN. LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF VICTORIA WOODHULL. LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF THE VALERIE SOLANAS OF THE SCUM MANIFESTO. LONG LIVE THE STUBBORNNESS OF SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR. LONG LIVE BIG MAMA FLORYNCE KENNEDY. LONG LIVE SISTER MARK RUDD. LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF JONATHAN JACKSON. LONG LIVE THE SPIRITS, AND THE HOPES, AND THE BODIES OF ALL THE BEAUTIFUL, REVOLUTIONARY, FOOL, CRIMINALS, WHO ARE STUPID ENOUGH TO FIGHT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A HUMAN SPIRIT. LONG LIVE THE SPIRIT OF SISTER JOSEPH COLOMBO, AND HIS BODY. IF ITS CONDITION MEETS HIS TERMS, HE HAS PAID HIS DUES, AND TOO MUCH OF OURS BESIDES.
May we, the women here, make a Revolution.
Beautiful, revolutionary, fool, criminals … <– note the order and how it segues into the invocation of Colombo. Criminal fool. Beautiful revolutionary. He/she.
We know where. TO FIGHT FOR THE POSSIBILITY OF A HUMAN SPIRIT
And so for day 2179