"It's Always a Means to an End": Queering the Caribbean literary space in Valmiki's Daughter


  • Leila Assumpção Harris Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina
  • Raquel Gonçalves Pires Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro




Caribbena Literature, Heteronormative Rules, Body, Gender, Discourse


The legacy of a colonial past marked by violence and oppression still inluences sexual politics on the Caribbean Islands. he absence of laws to protect lgbt citizens together with irmly rooted heteronormative structures make the islands an inhospitable place for those who do not comply with the rules, reinforcing the idea of Caribbean lgbts as virtually inexistent. In Valmiki’s Daughter shani mootoo uses literary representation to break “the silence about sexuality and nonnormalizing desire”. he novel underscores the sexual diversity of individuals situated inside a region that has been perceived as primarily heterosexual, a perception that needs to be deconstructed. however, mootoo implicitly acknowledges the constricted space for individuals that do not abide by compulsory heterosexuality, attesting the power of discursive processes and practices that still regulate bodies, genders and desires.

Biografia do Autor

Leila Assumpção Harris, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina

Leila Assumpção Harris is an Associate Professor at Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro. At present, she is the coordinator of the Master’s course in the literatures of the English Language. Her main research interests include autobiographical writing, gender and cultural studies. Thanks to a state-sponsored grant (Prociencia/FABERJ), she is currently researching autodiegetic narratives produced by contemporary women writers.


Raquel Gonçalves Pires, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

Raquel Gonçalves Pires currently teaches English as a Second language. She holds a Master’s degree from UERJ. Her dissertation, Compulsory Heterosexuality and Caribbean Queer Identities: An investigation of Achy Obejas’s Memory Mambo and Shani Mootoo’s Valmiki’s Daughter (2015) as well as book chapters published to date attest her interest in gender and queer studies.