Butterfly: the dark fluidity of suburban life

Holliday, Penny (2015) Butterfly: the dark fluidity of suburban life. In American Association of Australasian Literary Studies Annual Conference, 9-11 April 2015, Fort Worth, Texas. (Unpublished)


The American Association of Australasian Literary Studies (AAALS) Annual Conference, Forth Worth, Texas, 9–11 April 2015. The dark fluidity of Melbourne suburbia in Sonya Hartnett’s Butterfly Sonya Hartnett’s Butterfly (2009) is a fictional account of the suburban family life of the Coyles in 1980’s outer suburban Melbourne written from the perspective of teenager Plum Coyle. The Coyle family at first glance appear to be living a textbook example of the suburban lifestyle developed from the 19th century and sustained well into the twentieth century, in which housing design and gender roles were clearly defined and “connected with a normative heterosexuality” (Johnson 2000: 94). The Australian suburban space is also well documented as a place where people often have to contend with oppressive rigid social and cultural ideals (ie Rowse 1978, Johnson 1993, Turnbull 2008, and Flew 2011). There is a tendency to group “suburb” as one monolithic space but this paper will argue that Hartnett exposes the dark fluidity and the complexity of the term, just as she reveals that despite or perhaps because of the planned nature of suburbia, the lives that people live are often just as complex.

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ID Code: 84084
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Australian fiction, Suburbs, Sonya Hartnett, Butterfly, Anti-suburban sentiment
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN CREATIVE ARTS AND WRITING (190000) > PERFORMING ARTS AND CREATIVE WRITING (190400) > Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting) (190402)
Divisions: Current > Schools > Creative Writing & Literary Studies
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 The Author
Deposited On: 10 Aug 2015 03:23
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2015 10:38

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