This article explores ways in which our collaborative work of fiction, ‘Dwellings’ – also published in this issue of Axon – uses Luce Irigaray’s assertion of the importance of speech as a starting point to explore the experiences of young women navigating the perils of gender relations within patriarchy. The work employs poetic prose juxtaposed with truncated prose fragments to create overlapping stories that comment analogically and obliquely on one another. The intersecting narrative strands reveal the limited power accorded to female adolescents and children in a patriarchal society, even as they attempt to subvert and defy patriarchy’s encompassing social and moral structures. The work comments on the importance of language in achieving agency and on ways in which young women may construct or articulate new and alternative realities.
Keywords: Inhabiting language – patriarchy – speaking – adolescence – agency