Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major


Second Major

Performing Arts and Social Change

Thesis Advisor

Carlos Rodriguez, MA


This paper is a comparative literary analysis of two contemporary novels: Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (2007) and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018). With a focus on self-destruction as a mode of feminist resistance, I explore the two novel’s overlapping themes, specifically the ways in which radical transformation offers a means to escape social and cultural oppressions impressed upon women. My inquiry into these processes aims to trace methods of resistance in response to patriarchal and anthropocentric ideologies, through forms of social deprogramming, the embodiment of vegetal and animal alterity and a recuperation of the maternal semiotic as a mode to escape the paternal symbolic. The realistic outcomes of such modes of resistance pose certain challenges, however. Accounting for the damaging potential of self-destructive tendencies , I weigh the possibility as well as the limitations these enactments have to offer, ultimately moving past the concept of survival and demise in order to come to a different perspective on the ways in which female agency is both mitigated and reclaimed in each novel.