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Literature ″Her Body and Other Parties″


Carmen Maria Machado’s story collection of short stories reimagines childhood memories in millennial punk rock bisexual acid tones for our amusement. In the film, which features a lot of social satire, a burrowing beetle invasion and 1990s American suburbia alternate. Machado, who is on the right side of camp, makes excellent use of genre mashups, alternating between horror, science fiction, fan fiction, and psychological realism.


In Machado’s stories, the act of storytelling a story is an integral component of the plot. She got everything she needed for composing short stories in The Bloody Chamber. She was curious as to the possible interactions between various stories. When it comes to narrative structure, she shows that the driving forces behind it all were the three pillars of joy: ideas; language; and the interplay between the high and the low; the story and the psychologically real.

A lovely retelling of the tale of the girl with the green ribbon around her neck opens Machado’s book with the charming title story. Retellings of ghost stories and urban legends have long fascinated Machado. There are stories that everyone knows about—or rather, everyone tells about—but no one ever believes. “No one ever believes these stories,” continues the narrator. Women’s destinies in such stories are of great significance. “Brides never do well in stories,” the narrator observes, anticipating her own fate (Machado, 2017).

The stories she shares with her son may be stereotyped as being dominated by men, but they actually help him develop into a better man by drawing on a rich tradition of female storytelling that dates back centuries. As a consequence, Machado reclaims these stories and female experiences as vital for a better future, particularly because storytelling and discussion have built a community that lives outside of patriarchal conventions. As the narrative build-up indicates, the green ribbon is finally undone, but not before the story unravels into a satisfying finale.


Machado’s stories merge components of fairy tales with horror film themes, as well as a range of physical and metaphysical circumstances. Because it incorporates urban legends and horror stories from around the campfire with the story of one woman’s journey through life and marriage, “The Husband Stitch” is one of the book’s most famous and memorable stories. In a modern take on ‘The Green Ribbon,’ it is presented as if orally and offers suggestions for the reader at every turn (Machado, 2017).

Aside from the ‘Green Ribbon’ fairytale, the story mentions a variety of urban legends and horror stories about the lives of women who met sad ends – tales they grew up hearing, that women must dread the world and that horrible things may happen even if they obey the laws. An unnamed female narrator informs the reader about her personal history as well as about the guy she marries. Her spouse is interested about the ribbon she wears around her neck (Machado, 2017). It becomes clear that the story is about more than permission and boundaries; it is also about the vulnerabilities that so many people are born with, as well as what it means to be a woman.

‘The Resident’ and ‘Mothers,’ (Machado, 2017), which round out the collection’s additional horror offerings but are more closely related to psychological drama, serve as notable stories to the collection’s genre-blending approach. The book’s sci-fi components find their way into the real world in the shape of diseases and medical tragedies. Human weakness and body image are satirized. One story, “Inventory,” reads a list of lovers and builds a dystopian story around it, while the other, “Real women have bodies,” links female body image to a vanishing epidemic while emphasizing the nature of outward appearances and living under the male gaze. We get a good laugh out of a scene where Chris, our protagonist, overhears a conversation between two of the company’s male employees. “That’s exactly what you’re seeking for,” adds the narrator. You know, hips and a good deal of flesh to grab onto. In the absence of anything to hold onto, what would you do? “It’s like trying to drink water without a cup,” says the narrator (Machado, 2017).


Almost every story in this anthology features graphic sexual themes and moments of intimacy in unexpected locations. The collection’s breathtaking centerpiece, “Especially Heinous,” reinterprets the first 12 seasons of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a frightening police procedural beset by doppelgängers and ghostly ladies with bells for eyes. This in-depth investigation of a widely widespread modern myth focuses on sexist representations of women. By going deeper into the show’s logic, Machado masterfully converts the show’s overblown and advertised horrors into horrifying figures of the uncanny. This might be black satire in one of its manifestations. Machado continues, praising the show’s handling of sex workers, “GHOST”: A prostitute is slain. She is too exhausted to assume a ghostly identity. A prostitute is murdered in “RAGE.” She is much too upset at this time to shift into a ghost. In “PURE,” a prostitution-related homicide occurs. She is much too depressed to become a ghost (Machado, 2017).

On a lonely island, our heroine tells the story of how the world ended by describing all of her sexual escapades, mixed with tangential information about how the apocalypse occurred. When the sickness spreads from one person to another by sexual contact, as the narrator increases the number of persons on her list, so does the number of people who get ill.

“Difficult at Parties” (Machado, 2017): In the previous story, a lady has been sexually assaulted and is coping by binge viewing pornography. It is as though she is unable to distinguish between truth and fantasy as she becomes more consumed by the hopelessness of bringing her perpetrator to justice and the agony of being cut off from those she loves. Due to the complexity of human suffering and the absence of society support for justice and mental health, Machado may have selected this poem to conclude the collection. The story also looks into the media’s propagation of false conceptions about femininity and love, as well as the cultural focus on the female body in romantic relationships.


It also investigates how myths that depict rebellious or unruly women as insane or monstrosities have developed and continue to influence the lives of women. Her body and other parties After being chased to an artist’s retreat at the scene of a hidden childhood trauma, a writer finds himself in “The Resident.” The story’s narrator laments, “Perhaps you’re thinking I’m a cliché—a weak, quivering creature with a stupid root of adolescent anguish, right out of a gothic book” (Machado, 2017). Women’s toxification in literature and in real life are delicately balanced in this story.

As the title suggests, each story explores the body and its role in the world, as well as the lived experiences of women. The novella ‘Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU,’ which is a fan fiction synopsis by synopsis deconstruction of every episode of Law & Order SVU, comprises the book’s later half. In this novella, the reader is given a quick synopsis of a program concerning femicide and the female body as a dangerous commodity. Her story features a series of murders, as well as dream sequences akin to Twin Peaks and romantic links between the investigator and his female lead. As in this episode, the genre is used to ridicule stereotypical ideas about female detectives, such as the idea that they must put their careers before of everything else, including their personal life or even their health.

One such hazard is depicted in the novella “Eight Bites”: the toxic signals women acquire about their bodies. Machado applies the same enthusiasm to the risks of poisonous cultural clichés. The narrator of “Eight Bites” undergoes weight-loss surgery. Despite the fact that the narrative is a dreadful fairy tale about three nameless sisters, it includes inappropriate cultural jargon intended to restrict women’s food choices. “I feel amazing,” the narrator’s sisters exclaimed after the procedure. They had all eaten and stopped, just saying ‘I feel absolutely fantastic’ (Machado, 2017). The narrator is wary of the weight-loss term transformational shift, despite having previously received the therapy. She wonders whether she will ever be whole, transformed in the past tense. 2017 (Machado). But there’s a catch. It’s as if the corpse she dumped has come back to haunt her. The narrator enjoys inflicting agony on herself. She claims that this is a new person. “A new woman sheds, not peels, her old self.” The story turns the misery of forced weight reduction into a physical embodiment. With her stunning surreal images, Machado’s frank tone emphasizes the underlying horrible reality of many women’s life, and the violence that ravages their bodies and psyches.


Carmen Maria Machado’s debut collection of short tales, “Her Body and Other Parties,” alternates between horrifying and humorous, inventive and psychologically unpleasant, distinctive and different. Each of the eight tales follows a lady on the edge of becoming a “madwoman in the attic,” breaking genre tropes and traditional female roles. Fables, urban legends, queer theory, and fairy tales are all sources of inspiration for them.

Her Body and Other Parties is a remarkable collection of stories that is simultaneously brilliant and dark, tempting and scary, queer and ordinary all at the same time. These magnificent stories demonstrate not just that women’s lives are fraught with contradictions and paradoxes, but also that literature is most effective when it confronts these discrepancies.

The majority of the book is devoted to demonstrating the contemporary sexism that women must face. The author addresses the problem of violence against women to emphasize the daily struggles that women confront. In a male-dominated society, women’s opinions and viewpoints are typically overlooked. The author of the book uses short stories to illustrate how pervasive violence has grown in our society. The readers are shown the enslavement of women in a patriarchal culture.


Machado, C. M. (2017). Her Body and Other Parties: Stories. Graywolf Press.


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