Doctorate of Creative Arts
School of Creative Arts
Plumb, Vivienne, Hitchhiking: the travelling female body, Doctorate of Creative Arts thesis, School of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong, 2012. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/3913
Hitchhiking: the travelling female body is comprised of two parts: a collection of short fiction, The Glove Box and Other Stories, and an accompanying exegesis.
The Glove Box and Other Stories: is a collection of fifteen stories of various lengths. These fictions are thematically connected via concepts of women and hitchhiking which exist in varied forms throughout the stories. Internal, subtle links of character and relationship have been interwoven into the narratives to create an overall world where the fictions are positioned.
The exegesis: examines the role of women hitchhiking within a literary context. The literature review is concerned with representations of women hitchhikers from biblical representations to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (2000). The methodology explores post-structuralist studies of the female body, and of feminist geography (female bodies in places and spaces), specifically focusing on the hitchhiking (female) body. Of particular interest is the work of Elizabeth Grosz (Volatile Bodies, and Time Travels) and Robyn Longhurst (Space, Place, and Sex, and Bodies - Exploring fluid boundaries). Inside this theoretical framework prominent themes emerge, especially the construction of the female body as a site of risk in public (exterior) spaces; the examination of a vehicle or other transport as an enclosed (interior) space with reference to similar enclosures of intimacy and alterity; and the freedom of the female body to peripatetically traverse the (Australian) landscape.
This methodology is applied to three literary case studies. The first is Kylie Tennant’s Australian novel, The Battlers (1941). This narrative focuses on hitchhiking in a historical context (the unemployed during the 1930s Depression). The second case study is Robyn Davidson’s Tracks (1980). This contains a predominant theme that relates to the female body traversing the cartographical (Australian) landscape ‘on the road’ and ‘hitched’ to camel transport. The third and final case study is that of my own creative fiction, The Glove Box and Other Stories. As mentioned above, it explores themes of women hitchhiking that relate specifically to the prominent points used in the theoretical framework.