Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Models of Victimization in Contemporary Cultures

From Cruelty Experienced to Cruelty Enacted: The Story of Ana

Vanessa Raney (Southern Connecticut State University, USA)



Francisco and Gabriel Solano Lopez's graphic novel, Ana, is a study of dissonance. The title character, Ana, is a woman who shows a radical streak, as evidenced by her encounter with existentialist Simone de Beauvoir in the first sequence, yet feminism fails her. She is not someone who defies her own rape from male aggressors, but instead assumes their moral prerogatives. Thus, she begins to perform against her femininity while remaining feminine.

By killing the man she loves, himself a state authority in a war between wo/men, she achieves a moral reckoning that ultimately fails. In effect, Ana, though affected by her dependency-attachment, cannot reclaim her original self despite the burden of regret. She is no longer Ana-in-becoming. While still within her mental prison, she is freed from her literal bars, only to enter into a different kind of serfdom that depends on the same rules for survival: a man.

In approaching Ana from an existentialist-phenomenological standpoint, I can challenge the assumptions of moral psychology in assuming the impetus of self-development toward a model of social coherence. Here, Ana's demise as a product of her othering suggests a different engagement with the tensions of society and the individual. Ana becomes the dominant Other to survive and suffers for her moral displacement, but cannot not reconcile her two selves. Why?

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-10-10