An Exploration of Female Agency in an Awarded Thai Novel: The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth


The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth is Veeraporn Nitiprapha’s debut novel, which won the SEA Write award in 2015. Set during the last quarter of the 20th Century in Thailand, The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth points out changes in cultural values and norms, especially those regarding the notion of romantic love and codes of sexual morality. Written as anti-realism and anti-romance, the writer uses a melodramatic plot to develop the latent meaning of a love triangle as social. This paper seeks to examine how the anti-romance genre is told and investigate the changes in interpersonal relationships with regards to gender relations, especially when compared to conventional romance and gender ideologies before the turn of the 21st Century. Particularly, it will analyse how the notions of romantic love and sexual morality are represented, and to what extent female characters are able to exercise agency and power in relation to social and cultural contexts. Specifically, the novel suggests that by becoming more individualistic and obsessive about their desires, characters are blinded, resulting in self-destruction and devastation in relationships. Essentially, sociocultural changes have great impacts on the characters’ decisions and actions. The author’s purpose in using anti-realism and anti-romance in The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth also intensifies the reader’s engagement with the female characters, which is different from a traditional romance.

Author Information
Sasinee Khunakaew, Chiang Mai University, Thailand
Sirirat Khuankaew, Maejo University, Thailand

Paper Information
Conference: IICAH2023
Stream: Sexuality

This paper is part of the IICAH2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Khunakaew S., & Khuankaew S. (2023) An Exploration of Female Agency in an Awarded Thai Novel: The Blind Earthworm in the Labyrinth ISSN: 2432-4604 – The IAFOR International Conference on Arts & Humanities – Hawaii 2023 Official Conference Proceedings
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon