"Doing" Gender: Nexus of complicity and acts of subversion in Doris Lessing's and Elfriede Jelinek's novels

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dc.contributor.advisor Carlston, E en
dc.contributor.advisor Resch, S en
dc.contributor.author Arora, Neha en
dc.date.accessioned 2017-01-22T22:12:44Z en
dc.date.issued 2016 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2292/31634 en
dc.description Full text is available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland only. en
dc.description.abstract British and Austrian women authors Doris Lessing and Elfriede Jelinek expose the formative power of social and political discourse over unsuspecting individuals, especially women, through divers literary media such as novels, plays, short stories, poems, opera librettos and essays. In the process, they reveal uncomfortable truths about societal structures. Writing roughly two decades apart, in and about different countries, Lessing and Jelinek share more than just prolificacy: a precarious position in academia, an eroded (Lessing) and a tempered (Jelinek) belief in communism, a controversial status amongst feminists, and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Both Lessing and Jelinek attribute women readers’ and feminists’ paradoxical love-hate relationship with their work to their readership’s parochial outlook of “feminism” that tends to blame men or patriarchy for all ills of womankind. Yet in their readings of Lessing’s and Jelinek’s texts, critics consistently ignore the role women play in their own oppression to contend that both authors depict a “battle of the sexes”. Building on Michel Foucault’s work, theorist Judith Butler moves beyond a critique of “patriarchy” in her analysis of gender genealogy. I use Butler’s and Foucault’s theories to argue that Lessing and Jelinek expose the nexus of women’s complicity with omnipresent societal power structures that safeguard gender norms. By showcasing women as victim-products and complicit partisans of socially constructed gender roles, both authors emphasize that these roles can be destabilized only when women overcome their own complicity with them through their acts of subversion. For the purpose of this study, I analyse two novels each from Lessing’s and Jelinek’s corpuses: the first two texts from Lessing’s renowned five-part Children of Violence series – Martha Quest (1952) and A Proper Marriage (1954) – and Jelinek’s women as lovers ([1975] translated 1994) and The Piano Teacher ([1983] translated 1988). en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof Masters Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264893708702091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights Restricted Item. Available to authenticated members of The University of Auckland. en
dc.rights.uri https://researchspace.auckland.ac.nz/docs/uoa-docs/rights.htm en
dc.title "Doing" Gender: Nexus of complicity and acts of subversion in Doris Lessing's and Elfriede Jelinek's novels en
dc.type Thesis en
thesis.degree.discipline English Literature en
thesis.degree.grantor The University of Auckland en
thesis.degree.level Masters en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
pubs.elements-id 609180 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-01-23 en

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