P.205) Feminist critics have been unearthing the women writers whose expression has remained largely marginalized in the literary canons all over the world. Women’s writings: dairies, poetry, are now studied by the feminist critics for specific conscious- raising projects. However, they are carefully studied by feminists not to present all women writers as “feminist.” A piece of writing, justifies, propagates or perpetuates discrimination against women cannot be termed as ‘feminist.’ Only that artistic work which sensitizes its readers to the practices of subjugation and opposes them can be treated as being feminist in nature. Reading a work of literature, a feminist reader asks the following questions: A) How does a literary text represent women? B) What does it have to say about gender
Exploiting the ideologies of feminist criticism, it could be reasoned that The Great Gatsby promotes an obscured masculine agenda. Through Fitzgerald’s treatment of the fundamental female characters in The Great Gatsby, the novel seems to uphold and corroborate with the traditional gender roles, neglecting any positive alternative view in the process. Fitzgerald himself is said to have been greatly affected by an affair his wife Zelda is supposed to have had, during the time the novel was written. Thus it is somewhat understandable he would write with contempt towards certain female characters and their portrayal (Bruccoli,1994). The author’s unwillingness to change his outlook and worldview seems to indicate he, himself, has become a slave to the established male dominated society.
However, it is evident from many of the novels published during this period, that such harmonious assimilation, even in fiction was not available to them. Thus, in many novels of this phase, the feminine heroine was seen as growing up in a world without female solidarity, where women in fact police each other on behalf of patriarchal tyranny. Also, the deficiencies of feminine novelists were seen in male portraiture which were attempts to conceal these deficiencies. The model heroes were thus the product of female fantasies about how they would act and feel if they were men. Furthermore, the use of male pseudonyms by women writers is another significant marker of this phase.
Divakaruni, a product of the postcolonial feminism, creates a female universe out of the conventional male world. In her works, conventional geography is rejected. The rejection of other male definitions of the world automatically follows. She places her women characters, mostly with good educational background and yet hailing from unfair traditional family set-up, in conflict with a parochial society, and depicts their struggle to pop out of the shells. They break free themselves from the past conventional emotions and resolve to move into the new world of American ideologies due to severe hardships inflicted on them in the name of Indian tradition and custom.
Whereas the “New Woman“ is politically, intellectually, and sexually emancipated. “Within the dynamic of the novel’s narration, the New Womanly Mina, with her “man’s brain” and “wom-an’s heart (Stoker 248), becomes the site of complex negotiations between traditional femininity and intellectual agency” (Senf 224). Even nowadays, woman’s role as “angels of the house” and their career come into conflict. While many men still believe that the woman should stay at home, most woman believe this is wrong and needs changing. Mina Murray tries to be equal to the men but Van Helsing rejects her at the end of the novel,
Bonadeo also indicated definite inducements why a woman might involve in an nonmarital relationship. He emphasizes that, “ as well as to being constrained into marriage, women in the Decameron are generally left unsatisfied by their husbands”. Adultery, Bonadeo proceeds, usually outcomes when a woman’s husband is feckless or gay, and clarifies that“ other inducements for adultery, containing conditions in which husbands are inadequate and cannot fulfill”. (Bonadeo,297-298).Baker asserts that’’ “Boccaccio as an author who unequivocally takes the side of the adulterous woman”.
The feminist theory in literature is criticism in the feminist view. It uses feminist ideas to critique literature regardless if the literature itself is based off of expectations that favor men and their perspective, if it portrays women in a bad way due to a systematic sexism, or if the literature crafts female characters as independent women to counteract the way they are usually written in a patriarchal society. In The Driver’s Seat by Muriel Spark, she creates a story that portrays the main character, Lise as an independent woman, who orchestrates her own death. Although the death of a strong female can acts as a criteria of patriarchal influenced novels, Spark counteracts this by making Lise a character who is outspoken and strong minded,
In the book she further criticises the idea of male dominance by showing the weaknesses and hypocrisies of the male characters. Esther also shows frustration with the sexual double standards men are shown to have, the fact that it’s perfectly ok. Describing an article that Esther read she states: The main point of the article ["In Defense of Chastity"] was that a man 's world is different from a woman 's world and a man 's emotions are different from a woman 's emotions and only marriage can bring the two worlds and the two different sets of emotions together properly [...] This woman lawyer said the best men wanted to be pure for their wives, and even if they weren 't pure, they wanted to be the ones to teach their wives about sex. Esther is obviously disturbed by this opinion, which could have contributed to her decision to become more sexually active, to show that she too can live like a man. From buddy’s general behaviour throughout most of the book and his affair with the waitress, to Esther’s violent encounter with the woman-hating Marco, with few exceptions, the men in the book are mostly shown as being immoral and
Women and Tradition: Battling Patriarchy With a Pen In the second chapter of their book, The Mad Woman in the Attic, (1979), Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar examine the relationship between female writers and literary tradition. Their central argument posits that female writers experience the “anxiety of authorship,” distress that stems from the lack of female precursors in the literary tradition for contemporary female writers to reference for inspiration and validation in their writing (Gilbert and Gubar 49). This disenfranchisement of female authorship is rooted in a literary tradition dominated by men, a patriarchal system that conforms female characters in literature to masculine desires, such as the poet 's muse or the angel. Enclosing
Literature is the reflection of human action. Since the last two centuries, the woman writer and women’s writings have gone through some significant changes. Doris Lessing has a creative energy like her male contemporaries, in the nineteenth century she was confined to the marginal of a patriarchal society by which she was only appreciated on account of her marital and domestic duty—for she was not entitled to many rights. Maybe she wrote a manuscript under a male pseudonym to be accepted; maybe she burnt or buried her manuscript, afraid of the consequences it might have. She perfectly inscribed a counter narrative by which she did manage to articulate some of her objectives.