Type / Thesis

Whereabouts Is Home?: Space and Ethics in José Rivera’s Marisol

Shih-yi Huang

Page / 139-60

Abstract


This paper discusses the way José Rivera’s Marisol, an apocalyptic play characterized by black humor, examines the conflict between economic development and social justice in the depiction of urban ecology. The issue of homelessness, as witnessed in New York in the eighties, begs the question of the eternal home for humanity. Which can better represent an advanced human civilization? The endless accumulation of goods and geographical expansion of capital relations? Or the ability to develop a value that emphasizes giving and sharing and infinite human responsibility over how it dwells? Drawing on spatial, ethical and dramatic theories, the paper specifically frames its argument around Emmanuel Lévinas’s idea of “proximity” in the examination of the ethical and epistemological anxieties evident in social spaces. It thereby points out that José Rivera underlined ethics more than reason in viewing mythological truth and mechanism of life-principles.

Keywords : space, José Rivera, Marisol, Emmanuel Lévinas, ethics
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