Original Research

Rebecca Roanhorse: A mythogothic reading of Harvest

Allyson Kreuiter
Literator | Vol 45, No 1 | a2000 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v45i1.2000 | © 2024 Allyson Kreuiter | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 April 2023 | Published: 12 January 2024

About the author(s)

Allyson Kreuiter, Department of English Studies, College of Humanities, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Rebecca Roanhorse’s short story Harvest appeared in the 2019 New Suns: A Collection of Stories by People of Color edited by Nisi Shawl. This story has received little to no critical attention. Roanhorse’s story is marked by its recourse to the figure of Deer Woman, a supernatural being common to many stories from Native American oral tradition. In this article, I will explore how myth and the gothic are melded together within the narrative of this short story in what I term the ‘mythogothic’. I will demonstrate how the mythogothic is integral to the founding of the shadow selves of the Native American protagonist Tansi. It is Roanhorse’s depiction of Tansi and Deer Woman’s killing spree that I will maintain challenges the founding myths of North American colonialism.

Contribution: This study contributes to scholarship on the work of author Rebecca Roanhorse and her employment of Native American oral tradition and myth as central to her narratives. It further provides a contribution to Gothic studies in the coining of the term the mythogothic as a tool with which to engage in a critical reading of narratives in which myth acts as a structuring device. Roanhorse’s short story Harvest has received little scholarly attention and using a gothic theoretical approach in conjunction with Native American scholar Gerald Vizenor’s trickster discourse allows for a fresh perspective and critical appreciation of the terror central to the story’s subversion of American colonial myth.


Keywords

Rebecca Roanhorse; Harvest; mythogothic; Deer Woman; shadow selves.

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