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Feminist Literary Theory

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Andrea Nelson

on 7 March 2013

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Transcript of Feminist Literary Theory

by Anya, Jared, Ainsley, and Andrea The Feminist Approach to Literary Criticism History of the Feminist Theory Part #1 Hélène Cixous
- Women's writing Feminist Theorists explores gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, class, and sexuality in different systems

studies the relationship between literature and patriarchal bias

examines the potential of overcoming biases through the use of literature

discusses the duality of the mind and body, and their relative associations with gender

investigates the ways in which meaning is produced through language - "women's writing" Characteristics of the Feminist Theory Key Terms Practical Approach #1
The Awakening Practical Approach #2
The Odyssey Works Cited Messer-Davidow, Ellen. “Feminist Theory and Criticism: 1. From Movement Critique to Discourse Analysis.” The John Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism. 2005. Web. 1 March 2013. http://wwws.moreheadstate.edu:2127/cgi-bin/view.cgi?section_id=0602 Androgyny The Awakening focuses on Edna Pontellier while she begins to break free from her expected role as a wife and mother.
Edna's attitude against the patriarchal society in which she lives is signified by her repulsion at Adele's dedication to life as a homemaker. She is not satisfied with the cultural expectation that she simply leave her mark (or rather, leave no mark) by raising a family. This scene also looks into the duality of the mind and the body, in that Edna sees that Adele has sacrificed her body for the sake of pregnancy, instead of wishing to explore her own mind and the limits of her ability.
As the story progresses, Chopin identifies Edna's changing attitude by referring to her with different names; she is originally given the title "Mrs. Pontellier", which transforms into "Edna Pontellier", and eventually just "Edna". This symbolizes Edna removing herself from her false life and adjusting to her true nature. Backlash Écriture Féminine Essentialism Gynocentrics Jouisance Patriarchy Phallogocentrism Second Wave
Feminism Third Wave
Feminism a blurring, or combination of gender roles so that neither masculinity or femininity is dominant. a term referring to a movement in the 1980s away from or against feminism. (literally women's writing)
a philosophy that promotes women's experiences and feelings to the point that it strengthens the work. The belief in a uniquely feminine essence, existing above and beyond cultural conditioning. Influences dominated by or emphasizing feminine interests or a feminine point of view female sexual pleasure or orgasm. as being unrepresented within the phallogocentric Symbolic order - Jacques Lacan
- Sigmund Freud
- Jacques Derrida
- Karl Marx a male centered society: assumes that male norms operate throughout all social institutions and become the standard to which all persons adhere Centered on men or on a male viewpoint, especially one held to entail the domination of women by men. a period of feminist thought that originated around the 1960s and was mainly concerned with independence and greater political action to improve women's rights a feminist movement that arguably began in the early 1990s that seeks to challenge and expand common definitions of gender and sexuality Semiotic non-linguistic aspects of language which express drives and affects Siegel, Kristi, Dr. "Introduction to Modern Literary Theory." Introduction to Modern Literary Theory. Mount Mary College, Web. 04 Mar. 2013. <http://www.kristisiegel.com/theory.htm>. The women in The Odyssey are portrayed as manipulative beings; Athena wanted Odysseus to go to Troy and let nothing get in the way, Circe wanted him to stay on her island and cast spells to prevent him from leaving, and Penelope tricked her suitors by undoing the work on her husband's shroud at night. The sea monsters Scylla and Cherybdis, as well as the sirens, are depicted as female, meant to kill the men by destroying their ships.
Sexual inequality is also displayed throughout the tale of the Odyssey. Penelope, as Odysseus' wife, is expected to remain abstinent until her husband's return. However, this is not the case for Odysseus, who stays with Circe for a year as her lover. The goddess Calypso complains about the double-standard between the male and female deities; the men are allowed to take mortal lovers, but the women are not allowed to have affairs of the same nature. Feminist literary criticism became a theoretical issue with the new women's movement in the 1960s. It started as part of the international women's liberation movement. WWII allowed women to know how it felt to work "men's" jobs and be/feel independent which was previously unknown to many women. The passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and birth control pills in combination with the experience of independence liberated women to be more freely independent. One of the first major books was Betty Friedan's "The Feminine Mystique" (1963) which contributed to the emergence of the said new women's liberation movement. This book criticized how the so called "ideal" woman was singularly a housewife and mother. By doing this she has started a new "consciousness-raising movement" (Oppermann), and played a major part in the development of the new discipline of women's studies. One of the next major works was Kate Millet's Sexual Politics (1969). This book started some principles of feminist criticism by criticizing the sexist assumptions in male-authored texts and introducing some fundamental terms such as "patriarchal." Luce Irgaray
- Women's Speech Virginia Woolf
- Feminine mode of writing
- Good writing combines masculine and feminine methods Xaviére Gauthier
- Women need to write in order for their side of history to be heard. Monique Wittig
- No such thing as a separate "woman's language" Julia Kristeva- Semiotic and symbolic communication Kelsey, Alice. "Introduction to Kristeva." Introduction to Kristeva. Northern Illinois University, 5 Aug. 1996. Web. 5 Mar. 2013. http://www.engl.niu.edu/wac/kristeva.html Jasken, Julie. "Introduction to Cixous." Introduction to Cixous. Northern Illinois University, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2013. http://www.engl.niu.edu/wac/cixous_intro.html Holland, Bridget. "Luce Irigaray." Luce Irigaray. The Center for Digital Discourse and Culture, 1998. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. http://www.cddc.vt.edu/feminism/irigaray.html Crowder, Diane G. "Media." Media. N.p., 2006. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. http://www.moniquewittig.com/bio/bio_2.html Clark, S. N. "The Virginia Woolf Societyof Great Britain." The Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain. Virginia Woolf Society of Great Britain, 2000. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. http://www.virginiawoolfsociety.co.uk/vw_res.biography.htm Oppermann, Serpil Tunç. "Feminist Literary Criticism:Expanding the Canon as Regards the Novel." Feminist Literary Criticism:Expanding the Canon as Regards the Novel. 1994. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. http://warlight.tripod.com/OPPERMANN.html History of the Feminist Theory Part #2 Books such as Elaine Showalter's "A Literature of Their Own" (1977) (describes the female tradition in English novels from "The Brontes" onward as a development of subculture) and Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar's "The Madwoman in the Attic" (1979) (studies the major female writers of the 19th century) helped make it easier to study gender and sexism more in depth in literature by showing how female literature had been written and developing over time. Elaine Showalter's "A Literature of Their Own" analyzed the historical development as having three stages of women's writing: First--"the imitation of the mainstream literary tradition"; second--"the protest against the standards of this dominant tradition concerning social values and rights"; and third--"self-discovery which aims at a search for identity" (Oppermann). This is but a small look at an enormous animal of complex history pertaining to the beginning of feminism and feminism literary theory. Miller, Jane Eldridge. Who's Who in Contemporary Women's Writing. London: Routledge, 2001. Print.
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