Inside and Outside Bodies: Daughter of the House by Michele Roberts

Here is another analysis by me and Faizal Anwar. We discussed about one of Michele Roberts’s work which is Daughter of the House.

Daughters of the House

We looked up at Oxford Dictionaries and found three meanings of body that describe our perception about body related to Therese and Leonie in ‘Daughter of the House’. First, body as a noun means the physical structure, including the bones, flesh, and organs of a person or an animal. Second, (the body of) body means the main or central part of something, especially a building or text. Third, [mass noun] body means the physical and mortal aspect of a person as opposed to the soul or spirit. In our opinion, these meanings have something to do with both daughters and their relation to each other also to the house.

Physically, there are many kind of women body and it is different from men; the kinds of shape, the sexuality organs, and the phases of the body changing. There are also many parts of women’s body becomes a benefit as their shield or attractive devices which were explained in ‘Daughter of the House’. In Leonie’s case her body is the physical structure; she wants to show her body identity from what other people can see.

Meanwhile, Therese’s body related to her soul, perhaps it is matter because Therese only wants to show her purity through the body in serving for God. The third meaning of body said that it opposed to the soul or spirit, but Therese’s body is her soul.

Both daughters as two different woman and have their own bodies is a single body within the house. They are the body of the house and the body of the text because they are the central part of the story and each thing which was described in every chapter has something to do with them. However, ‘The Words’ becomes the title of last chapter, whereas, the other titles of the chapter are inanimate objects. Word is Logos in Greek which also relates to reason, idea, ratio and those seem to be men’s body (means that words are their authority), meanwhile body as the physical and the soul are belong to women. By means of the using of ‘The Words’ as the last chapter, the women of this story take control of men’s body. They also have the authority of word and speaking.

We saw Therese’s body and Leonie’s body complete each other as the body and the soul. It becomes a complete unity. Perhaps this is why they see their reflection in each other.


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