(Un)grateful Migrant Domestic Workers in Brett Michael Innes’ Rachel Weeping (79440)

Session Information: Literature/Literary Studies
Session Chair: Hope Yu

Saturday, 25 May 2024 17:10
Session: Session 5
Room: Room 608
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

This paper explores migrant domestic workers’ vulnerability in Brett Michael Innes’ novel, Rachel Weeping. The first point I will argue is that Rachel’s economic migration is driven by a poverty-stricken life, leading her to enter the “global care/clean chain.” Her anguish of being undervalued is not solely directed at her employers, the Jordaans, but also extends to the hierarchical structure within the domestic employment sector, and further reflects the broader issues of unequal development within the global economy. Secondly, despite the Jordaans refraining from employing the “part of the family” myth in their treatment of her, they still anticipate an equivalent level of emotional commitment. Drawing upon Arlie Russel Hochschild’s concept of “the economy of gratitude,” I argue that Rachel’s detachment demonstrates that genuine emotional bonds in the micropolitics of domestic employment will never form as long as class, racial, and economic disparities continue to overshadow the employment relationship.

Chia-Chen Kuo, Tamkang University, Taiwan

About the Presenter(s)
Professor Chia-Chen Kuo is a University Assistant Professor/Lecturer at Tamkang University in Taiwan

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00