The question of Hortense's own subjectivity and its relationship to dollhood
(or more accurately, the status of the automaton) is raised in her climactic confrontation with Bucket, when she stands with "her arms composedly crossed, but with something in her dark cheek beating like a clock" (830).
Some specific topics include Shaker spirit possession, female education in an antebellum Southern family, missionary education of Native American girls, and the politics of dollhood
in 19th century America.
But in her pictures the dolls never quite transcend their dollhood
, whereas the puppets in her film do: They appear to move in the real world and to be ruled by real emotions.
My essay looks at scenes of dollhood
in the works of three contemporary female authors within this context: Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Got Their Accents, Sandra Cisneros' "Barbie-Q," and the now-famous doll dismemberment scene from Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye.
In Made to Play House, Miriam Formanek-Brunell engagingly documents and analyzes the forces that shaped an important segment of American girlhood--what she calls "dollhood
"--between 1830 and 1930.