MA (Master of Arts)
Date of Award
Committee Chair or Co-Chairs
Isabel B. Stanley
Amber E. Kinser, Theresa A. Lloyd
Karen Finley's The Constant State of Desire merits attention because it acknowledges modern language's inability to represent the suffering of victims and creates awareness of our personal involvement in constructing gendered identities. Finley expresses her abhorrence of the desire for power and perfection by asserting that power is secured in American culture through physical and economic domination. In addition, the pursuit of perfection is engrained in one's psyche through media images and habituated behaviors. Finley does not offer a new language through which to communicate suffering, but she draws the reader's attention to the inadequacies of psychological and cultural rhetoric, thus engaging in an important step of language creation. Finley's art makes use of dominant and nondominant languages combined with body language to illustrate that neither are adequate for representing marginalized bodies of postmodern culture.
Thesis - Open Access
Greenwood, Melissa D., "Power and Perfection in Karen Finley's The Constant State of Desire: Creating a New Discourse." (2004). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. Paper 870. https://dc.etsu.edu/etd/870
Copyright by the authors.