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Feminism Critical Theory

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Meaghan Pacheco

on 24 April 2013

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Transcript of Feminism Critical Theory

KING LEAR Feminism Based
on Heart of Darkness Feminism in Heart of Darkness is used to portray the outlook on women in history.
This is beneficial because the literature gives a clear picture of how society viewed women as unequal.
The inequality women suffer has partially healed over the course of history, but during Heart of Darkness and the setting, Congo, Africa, it is still well underdeveloped.
Specifically, Marlow views women both positively and negatively, since he describes them to be innocent and living in a "world of their own."
Living in a world of their own signifies naivety, which brings in the negative aspect Marlow has for women. Significance of Feminism OTHER LITERATURE "Men" by Maya Angelou HEART OF DARKNESS QUOTES AND EXCERPTS Camille, Mercy, Alyesha, Nicole. Meaghan, Vanessa Feminist Critical Theory HISTORY "Men" by Maya Angelou (continued) "Men" by Maya Angelou Continued WHAT IS FEMINISM CRITICAL THEORY? Resources "Girl! What? Did I mention a girl? Oh, she is out of it--- completely. They---the women I mean---are out of it---should be out of it. We must help them to stay in that beautiful world of their own, lest ours gets worse." (2.29) Feminist criticism concern itself with stereotypical representations of genders. It also may trace the history of relatively unknown or undervalued women writers, potentially earning them their rightful place within the literary canon, and helps create a climate in which women's creativity may be fully realized and appreciated. The impact of feminism on literary criticism over the past thirty-five years has been profound and wide-ranging. It has transformed the academic study of literary texts, fundamentally altering the canon of what is taught and setting a new agenda for analysis, as well as radically influencing the parallel processes of publishing, reviewing and literary reception. A host of related disciplines have been affected by feminist literary inquiry, including linguistics, philosophy, history, religious studies, sociology, anthropology, film and media Marlow’s Ship
Referred to as a “she”
Marlow & other men control the ship
Control of the ship = women are under men’s control
Indicates male dominance over females
Men are considered useless without women guiding them (pg. 49) Aunt
Marlow couldn’t get the job without his aunt (pg. 43)
Aunt warns & gives advice to Marlow before his departure. However, Marlow refuses to listen to her, because Marlow describes her like any other women – incapable of instructing the world by themselves (pg. 48) Savage Woman
Marlow portrays her as a powerful woman
Not given with much respect from Marlow (based on his outlook on women)
Marlow describes the savage woman as a magnificent human being but wild (pg. 106)
Later, she became a threat, and was considered dangerous to the men
Represents the very CORE of the wilderness (aka. the heart of darkness)
Savages do not talk in the novel, therefore women are portrayed as non-speaking characters
Marlow basically describes women equally similar to savages Intended
Marlow claims she was in her own little world (like all the other women in the novel (pg.90)
Marlow thinks women should be left doing their own thing in their “own worlds”
Kurtz continues to hold on to the memory of his intended after his death.
Kurtz refers to her as "my intended" meaning my property (possessively like his other belongings – my station, my career, my ideas), which describes power over her
End of novel, Kurtz’s intended says she found no evil in Kurtz = Marlow thinks of her as unintelligent
Marlow treats Kurtz’s intended as a child. He hides the truth, tells her what she wants to hear (pg. 129) Kurtz himself
Marlow thinks so lowly of Kurtz
Never considered Kurtz to appear as how people usually describe him.
Considered weak (like women), only strong and powerful through his words. About a girl's coming of age and first sexual experience. She begins with a fascination with their appearance and purpose. "Wino men, old men. / Young men as sharp as mustard." Time goes on and the girl begins to lust after the men. "They knew I was there. Fifteen / Years old and starving for them." The poem becomes more sexual in subtle ways. "Jacket tails slapping over / Those behinds, / Men." This line hints some pleasure and satisfaction the the girl experiences. When I was young, I used to
Watch behind the curtains
As men walked up and down the street. Wino men, old men.
Young men sharp as mustard.
See them. Men are always
Going somewhere.
They knew I was there. Fifteen
Years old and starving for them.
Under my window, they would pauses,
Their shoulders high like the
Breasts of a young girl,
Jacket tails slapping over
Those behinds,
Men. One day they hold you in the
Palms of their hands, gentle, as if you
Were the last raw egg in the world. Then
They tighten up. Just a little. The
First squeeze is nice. A quick hug.
Soft into your defenselessness. A little
More. The hurt begins. Wrench out a
Smile that slides around the fear. When the
Air disappears,
Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly,
Like the head of a kitchen match. Shattered.
It is your juice
That runs down their legs. Staining their shoes.
When the earth rights itself again,
And taste tries to return to the tongue,
Your body has slammed shut. Forever.
No keys exist. This is when the girl encounters her first sexual experience. "It's queer how out of touch with truth women are. They live in a world of their own, and there has never been anything like it, and never can be. It is too beautiful altogether, and if they were to set it up it would go to pieces before the first sunset. Some confounded fact we men have been living contentedly with ever since the day of creation would start up and knock the whole thing over." (1.28) "And from right to left along the lighted shore moved a wild and gorgeous apparition of a woman." (3.13) "She walked with measured steps, draped in striped and fringed cloths, treading the earth proudly, with a slight jingle and flash of barbarous ornaments. She carried her head high; her hair was done in the shape of a helmet; she had brass leggings to the knee, brass wire gauntlets to the elbow, a crimson spot on her tawny cheek, innumerable necklaces of glass beads on her neck; bizarre things, charms, gifts of witch-men, that hung about her, glittered and trembled at every step. She must have had the value of several elephant tusks upon her." (3.14) King Lear and Heart of Darkness share a similar view of women. In both types of literature women are viewed as insignificant and naive. At first, the girl is treated gently like she is "the last raw egg in the world." As the poem progresses, the fantasy of the little girl disappears, it is obvious that the lust, "The / First squeeze is nice." turns into pain, "A little / More. The hurt begins." Then it turns into fear, "Wrench out a / Smile that slides around the fear." The climax of the man happens inside the girl, who is now a "woman." She is at first she is angered, but then becomes sad. "Your mind pops, exploding fiercely, briefly / Like the head of a kitchen match. Shattered." She comes to a realization that men only wanted her for pleasure and it deadens her. She locks away the "starving fifteen year old" letting it tease the womanly desires she has now. "No keys exist." while this would indicate that the story of the poem is over, Maya continues with the next stanza. Then the window draws full upon
Your mind. There, just beyond
The sway of curtains, men walk.
Knowing something.
Going someplace.
But this time, I will simply
Stand and watch.

Maybe. Instead of living unhappily, knowing that there is no hope for ever finding a man to be in a relationship with her, the "starving girl" in the woman taunts her to "Stand and watch. / Maybe." Marlow's view on women is that they are naive and fantasize about unrealistic utopias. But he also does not want to show them the truth because it will shatter their dreams and purity. In this poem, Maya gives the "truth" to the girl and the girl in her deadens at the realization. Other Literature "Helen of Troy Does Countertop Dancing" by Margaret Atwood The world is full of women
who'd tell me I should be ashamed of myself
if they had the chance. Quit dancing.
Get some self-respect
and a day job.
Right. And minimum wage,
and varicose veins, just standing
in one place for eight hours
behind a glass counter
bundled up to the neck, instead of
naked as a meat sandwich.
Selling gloves, or something.
Instead of what I do sell.
You have to have talent
to peddle a thing so nebulous
and without material form.
Exploited, they'd say. Yes, any way
you cut it, but I've a choice
of how, and I'll take the money.

I do give value.
Like preachers, I sell vision,
like perfume ads, desire
or its facsimile. Like jokes
or war, it's all in the timing.
I sell men back their worse suspicions:
that everything's for sale,
and piecemeal. They gaze at me and see
a chain-saw murder just before it happens,
when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nipple
are still connected.
Such hatred leaps in them,
my beery worshippers! That, or a bleary
hopeless love. Seeing the rows of heads
and upturned eyes, imploring
but ready to snap at my ankles, I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urge
to step on ants. I keep the beat,
and dance for them because
they can't. The music smells like foxes,
crisp as heated metal
searing the nostrils
or humid as August, hazy and languorous
as a looted city the day after,
when all the rape's been done
already, and the killing,
and the survivors wander around
looking for garbage
to eat, and there's only a bleak exhaustion.
Speaking of which, it's the smiling
tires me out the most.
This, and the pretence
that I can't hear them.
And I can't, because I'm after all
a foreigner to them.
The speech here is all warty gutturals,
obvious as a slab of ham,
but I come from the province of the gods
where meanings are lilting and oblique
I don't let on to everyone,
but lean close, and I'll whisper:
My mother was raped by a holy swan.
You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.
That's what we tell all the husbands.
There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around. Not that anyone here
but you would understand.
The rest of them would like to watch me
and feel nothing. Reduce me to components
as in a clock factory or abattoir.
Crush out the mystery.
Wall me up alive
in my own body.
They'd like to see through me,
but nothing is more opaque
than absolute transparency.
Look--my feet don't hit the marble!
Like breath or a balloon, I'm rising,
I hover six inches in the air
in my blazing swan-egg of light.
You think I'm not a goddess?
Try me.
This is a torch song.
Touch me and you'll burn. was the daughter of Zeus and Leda. Her abduction by Paris is what lead to the Trojan War. In this poem, Helen is a dancer, who is looked down on because of what she does. But Helen sees herself as beautiful and has talent. It is hinted that Helen may not like what she does, but knows that it is better than what everyone else does for minimum wage, "It's the smiling that tired me out the most." At the end of the last stanza, Margaret ends the poem with empowering feminist lines: "You think I'm not a goddess? / Try me. / This is a torch song. / Touch me and you'll burn." This line can relate to Helen running away with Paris, the man she loved. She chose Paris because he loved her for what he saw in her, unlike all the men she dances for, who only lust after her body. But because of this risky action they took, Paris burned and so did his city. HISTORY Cont'd Murakami, Leticia, and Helen Ross. "Feminism." Feminist Criticism. 2013. 23 Apr. 2013 <http://femcrit.wikispaces.com/>.
Napikoski, Linda. "Feminist Literary Criticism." About.com Women's History. 2013. 23 Apr. 2013 <http://womenshistory.about.com/od/feminism/a/feminist_criticism.htm>.
Plunkett, Scott. "Feminist theory." California State University Northridge. 22 May 2009. 23 Apr. 2013 <http://www.csun.edu/~whw2380/542/Feminist Family Theory.htm>
Bookrags | Feminist Critique of "King Lear" 2011 Apr. 18 2013 <http://www.bookrags.com/essay-2005/7/29/8734/13402/ >
"Feminist Critical Theory." The New School. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2013. <http://www.newschool.edu/NSSR/courses.aspx?id=30538>.
"Feminist Criticism." Feminist Criticism. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013. <http://public.wsu.edu/~delahoyd/feminist.crit.html>.
"Feminist Perspective of Heart of Darkness :: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism." Feminist Perspective of Heart of Darkness :: Feminism Feminist Women Criticism. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2013. <http://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=4414>.
"Feminist Imagery in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness, English - CollegeTermPapers.com." Feminist Imagery in Joseph Conrads Heart of Darkness, English - CollegeTermPapers.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013. <http://www.collegetermpapers.com/TermPapers/English/Feminist_Imagery_in_Joseph_Conrads_Heart_of_Darkness.html>. In both King Lear and Heart of Darkness mother nature affects the literature in major ways. Ex: Heart of Darkness - The Jungle controls you. King Lear- Pathetic Fallacy. There are also many references to the three greek fates Clotho, Atropos, Lachesis. In part 1 of Heart of Darkness, the two women knitting black wool suggest the Fates of Greek mythology. Black colour symbolizes death. "Morituri te salutant" [Death salutes you]. Helen of Troy Feminism had just started when Conrad published Heart of Darkness (1899). During the late 19th century and early 20th century, women begun to react to being excluded from political events. At the time, liberalism, individual rights, and the equality of individuals before the law denied women of political citizenship.
The contradiction between degrading men and empowering women was resolved by analyzing the characteristics between the sexes, thus creating separate descriptions of the genders. As such, women qualities changed and became defined to be: emotional, passive, submissive, dependent, and selfless.
Marriage and family were supposedly based upon romantic love, companionship, and ethical equality. Women in marriage did not hold any rights or existence apart from her husband.
As the era went on, feminists challenged society insisting that women who were being thought of as naive and dependent could handle the world of men. Eventually, women were able to use their given qualities and reform the political society. Conrad and Shakespeare used the silence to deafen the readers. Silence is loud. KING LEAR
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