Author: Angela Carter
Genre: Feminist fiction, postmodern novel
Publish Date: 1977
Page Length: Approximately 192 pages
"The Passion of New Eve," penned by Angela Carter, is a thought-provoking postmodern novel that explores themes of gender identity, power dynamics, and societal expectations. Set in a dystopian future, this tale takes readers on a captivating journey filled with adventure and self-discovery.
Part I: Genesis
In a war-torn America, Evelyn "Eve" White is a self-absorbed Englishman living in New York City. He obtains a job as a lecturer at Beulah College for Girls in the South, where he indulges in an objectifying relationship with his adoring student, Tristessa. However, their affair ends tragically when Tristessa's father, a vigilante, mutilates Eve and leaves him to die. In an unexpected turn of events, he is rescued by Leilah, a mysterious and seductive woman who kidnaps and brings him to her lair in the desert, then sews him up and transforms him into a woman.
Part II: Exodus
Now known as Evelyn "Evie" Eve, she becomes imprisoned by the sadistic mother-goddess figure, Mother, who rules over a community of women in the desert called Beulah (the same name as the college). Eve experiences the oppressive nature of the female-dominated society, where violence and control are prevalent. Amidst the struggle for survival, Eve forms a friendship with Trinculo, a transgender man who defies conventions and acts as a voice of reason in Beulah. Together, they plot an escape from this oppressive society.
Part III: Revelations
Eve's plan to escape comes to fruition when she, Trinculo, and a group of other women flee Beulah and embark on a perilous journey to the city of New York. However, as they arrive in the city, they find themselves amidst chaos and violence, with gangs ruling the streets. Separated from Trinculo, Eve is captured by Zero, the charismatic leader of the "Fighters for Freedom," an anarchistic group seeking to overthrow the oppressive society. To prove her worth, she engages in various acts of violence and eventually becomes Zero's lover.
Part IV: Resurrection
Over time, Zero's physical abuse and manipulative behavior lead Eve to question her place within this new society. She encounters a religious cult led by the enigmatic Father Damien, who claims to be her long-lost son. Intrigued, Eve joins the cult, adopting the role of the Virgin Mary and becoming a source of inspiration for her followers. As the cult gains traction and popularity, a climactic confrontation between Zero's forces and Father Damien's followers erupts, resulting in Eve escaping the chaos and returning to New York.
"The Passion of New Eve" is an influential novel that challenges traditional gender roles and societal norms. Through Eve's transformation and her experiences in various oppressive environments, Angela Carter explores themes of identity, power, and the limitations imposed by society. The novel offers a powerful critique of gender dynamics, emphasizing the importance of self-discovery and the rejection of societal expectations.
Through its vivid storytelling and thought-provoking narrative, "The Passion of New Eve" encourages readers to reflect on the struggle for individuality and the societal pressure to conform. Angela Carter's exploration of power dynamics and gender fluidity within a dystopian world serves as a compelling reminder of the ongoing fight for equality and acceptance.