Literature as an Agent of Change

Publication year

One of the two texts examined in detail seems to be a romance novel written by the author of the chapter since their names (Petronetta and Petra Pierre-Robertson) are very similar and Petronetta Pierre-Robertson's academic webpage shows her presenting copies of novels which appear on Petra's website. More details about the romance can be found on Petra Pierre-Robertson's website (archived link: ). Here's a quote from the chapter:

literary channels can be used as an intervention strategy to raise awareness, garner public support, and foster change. In literature, as in the real-life experience theorized above, awareness may be raised about the ways these discourses serve to perpetuate domestic violence. Readers can be empowered to change the narrative not just through a reading of the literature but through engagement in roundtable sessions, book clubs, and other awareness activities. The genre of romance can be used as an alternative possibility to challenge perceptions and norms with respect to love and power, intersecting components in domestic violence. As in the media discourses, representation is also significant in this regard, representation of the real experience of domestic violence in contemporary fiction.

Second Chances was written as a counter narrative to traditional romance novels hinged on timid women living in a state of weakness in a patriarchal society inhabited by toxic males and governed by systems, which are disadvantageous to the female. Light discourse, very clichéd with simple vocabulary, standard syntax, pristine settings and techniques, normally present in traditional formulaic romances, were absent from Second Chances. The novel by Pierre-Robertson engages with “thorny” issues to lay bare the challenges of violence against women, inclusive of domestic violence, and related ills in a Caribbean context. More specifically it is a reflection of experiences of abuse some women encounter in Trinidadian society. As posited in the literature, it takes into account the social context in which violence may be provoked. Additionally, it highlights the importance of the role of the bystander as an intervention strategy through the characterization of the main protagonist. The female persona, who was a victim of abuse was able to become a survivor because of the intervention of a bystander. The characterization of the male hero, counters constructions of maleness disrupting particular norms reflected in the romance genre. The novel provides alternative possibilities to the aforementioned media representation, and challenges perceptions and norms related to love, romance, and power. (96-97)