“I DO NOT WRITE MERE WORDS. I WRITE OF HUMAN FLESH AND BLOOD” An Intersectional Approach to Identity in Agnes Smedley’s Autobiographical Novel Daughter of Earth
This essay analyzes Agnes Smedley’s autobiographical novel Daughter of Earth (1929) from an intersectional perspective. The purpose is to concentrate on the novel itself, Smedley’s alter ego Marie Rogers, and the different aspects that govern the construction of her identity. The aim is to examine and argue how the different power structures such as race, class, and gender apply and are central to Marie’s identity. This will be seen in her ambivalence to resist them or accept them. The approach to the construction of identity is presented through an intersectional framework, a vast field, which this essay attempts to adapt to questions of identity in a literary work. The main points presented in the essay show how both autobiographical fiction and intersectionality are anti-essentialist concepts, fluent and dynamic. Furthermore, the analysis of Smedley’s protagonist attests to the shifting grounds of identity throughout life.