Trespassing Physical Boundaries: Transgression, Vulnerability and Resistance in Sarah Kane’s \u3cem\u3eBlasted\u3c/em\u3e (1995)

Abstract

Sarah Kane’s Blasted has been analyzed from various perspectives that address the layers of destruction it exposes. From the questioning of its title and meaning, to the unravelling of the protagonists’ abusive relationship, the analyses have emphasized the depiction of vulnerability as the defining human trait that Jean Ganteau observes in contemporary British literature. However, a key aspect has been overlooked in the critical response to the play: for Kane vulnerability does not equal helplessness, but rather stands in opposition to it. Hence, this article concentrates on how Blasted formulates a new understanding of vulnerability that fits Judith Butler’s later redefinition of such notion as a trigger for resistance. It argues that, facing gender-based trauma, Kane dismantles the conditions that allow for a patronizing configuration of vulnerability in space by relocating the victim to an actual battlefield. Following Sarah Bracke’s conception of governmental security as resilient, the article explores Kane’s multisided articulations of violence, vulnerability and trauma. It traces human relations as well as the literal rupture of space. From the hostile environment of a warzone, the notions of victimhood and fragility become rearticulated to undertake the responsibility of survival, questioning our passivity and ethical duties towards Others

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