Feminism In The Driver's Seat By Muriel Spark

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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,…show more content…
She is unapologetic and confident in everything she does. In regards to feminism, Lise is the type of woman that is praised in modern feminist critiques. In The Driver 's Seat, Spark expresses this when writing “‘What for?’ he says. ‘Is it a boy-friend?’ ‘Mind your own business,’ she says. ‘Stick to your yin and your yang’” (30). Lises interaction with Bill shows her personality through how she talks to him. Lise speaks with confidence and assertiveness. She is not afraid to tell Bill exactly what she thinks because she makes it a point that she does not care what he thinks, as well as want to hear what he has to say. Lise portrays a woman who is not obedient to a man 's orders. She also does not concern herself with men and their desires, she instead brushes them off in a superior manner. Spark writes this by saying “In the taxi she laughs harshly when Bill tries to kiss her. [...] he kisses her on the cheek and again she raises her eyebrows. She pushes the swing door and goes with it, not looking back” (34,35). The fact that Lise gains the attention of men, in this case Bill, yet wants nothing to do with them shows her power. It makes her a feminist character because it showcases her as a powerful woman who refuses to let men dominate her. From a broader perspective, Lise is strong willed, however this is explored more in how she specifically controls men in the…show more content…
By the end it is revealed that Lise is the cause of her death. She plans her death by making Richard kill her. However, instead of making Lise a damsel who is the victim in Richards murder, Spark twists the narrative and makes Richard a pawn in Lise’s game. In The Driver 's Seat, Spark writes that Lise is the one driving and forcing Richard to go with her, not the other way around (87). Lise is calling the shots, she is in the driver 's seat, metaphorically in the sense that she holds the authority, and literally in that she physically has to drive Richard to the place where she instructs him to kill her. Although a women being put into a position where she is the fragile victim about to be killed is not a positive depiction of a powerful women, Lise breaks the perception of what feminism is seen as. She does this by taking a common patriarchal characteristic and turning it into a feminist one. Lise playing the victim while simultaneously being the one in control is an example of how Spark portrays this new brand of feminism. Spark is mocking while at the same time creating a new perspective of feminism and what it means to write a feminist
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