Abandoned Being: The Aesthetic of Inhabiting in Meridel Le Sueur's The Girl

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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This article reads the vocabulary of "being" scattered throughout Meridel Le Sueur's The Girl as exposing the ontological dispossession underlying the economic and political abandonment of the poor. The Girl's search for a way "to be," however, also disrupts the economy of representation by which the state monitors and assesses, through a rhetoric of uplifted subjectivity, the behaviors of the women who depend on state relief programs. In The Girl, homeless women's discovery of forms of being within precarious living conditions constitutes an ontological repossession through which Le Sueur imagines alternative feminist socioeconomic structures and, by extension, alternative forms of subjectivity that emerge within subrepresentational spaces.