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Feminisms II: Examples Housekeeping and Female Artists.

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1 Feminisms II: Examples Housekeeping and Female Artists

2 Outline HistoryHistory of Women’s Writings since 19 th Century Virginia Woolf Virginia Woolf and “A Room of One’s Own” (her Story of Shakespeare’s Sister)A Room of One’s Own Sylvia Plath Sylvia Plath and “The 15-Dollar Eagle”The 15-Dollar Eagle Katherine Anne Porter Katherine Anne Porter and “The Jilting”The Jilting Some Other Stories of HousekeepingHousekeeping Some Other Stories of Female ArtistsFemale Artists

3 History of Women’s Writings since 19 th Century According to Elaine Showalter (textbook chap 1, p. 184) – 1.imitation (the feminine phase) 2.Protest (the feminist phase) 3.developing female understanding (the female phase)

4 Women’s writings in the 19 th century 1.Very few of them got to write; write diaries or letters. 2.the use of pseudonyms to write, 3.The use of madness, death as tropes of self-preservation e.g. Christina Rossettie, Emily Dickenson, “Yellow Wallpaper,” etc. 4.Followed the general plot in Victorian novels: exclusion+ death or domestication (marriage; e.g. Jane Eyre)

5 Feminist Writings and Criticism in the 20 century (gynocriticism p. 185) Writings Bring about changes in both form and content. Content: 1.Critique of patriarchal society, e.g. “A Room of One’s Own.” 2.empowerment of female roles and female bonding. “Granny W” 3.Discovery of female desires. 4.Analysis of female psyche. Criticism’s main concerns: 1. Linguistic 2. Cultural 3. Biological 4. Psychoanalytic

6 Virginia Woolf ( ) An extremely important Modernist novelist of Stream of Consciousness. Daughter of Sir Leslie (a biographer, critic, and scholar) Self-educated Committed suicide by drowning, March 28, 1941, Mrs. Dalloway appears on bestseller lists following the release of The Hours (directed by Stephen Daldry, stars Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, and Julianne Moore)

7 Virginia Woolf ( ) : Causes for her Sensitivity to Life Witnessed in her early years several members of her family fall victim to insanity and illness. (e.g. her half and her cousin's madness) Endured sexual abuse as a young girl by her older half brother – which permanently altered her attitude toward sex and may have contributed to Woolf's frigidity as a married woman. (Quentin Bell Virginia Woolf: A Biography, 1972) The combined effect of these childhood experiences  heightened her sensitivity to the harsh realities of life,  but also seriously damaged her ability to cope. (source: Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, )

8 Virginia Woolf’s “A Room of One’s Own.” Women’s position in fiction and in real life.(clip 1)clip 1 Why did not women write poetry in the Elizabethan age? (clip 2)clip 2 e.g. Shakespeare vs. Shakespeare’s sister– life in the living room, arranged marriage, not being able to work and survive by herself in London, with child. Androgyny: manly woman, womanly man.

9 Sylvia Plath ( ) Second Turning Point: won a Mademoiselle fiction contest and was invited to be a guest of the magazine the following summer. After that summer, she suffered from a severe nervous breakdown and, at the age of 19, attempted suicide by swallowing sleeping pills. She survived the attempt and was hospitalized, receiving treatment with electro-shock therapy. The Third: Meeting and Marrying Ted Hughes First Turning Point: Her father’s death in (Her poems show both rebellion and guilt.)

10 Sylvia Plath ( ): Ted and Sylvia Married Ted Hughes (a poet), June 16, 1956 (separated, 1962); Under Ted Hughes’ influences both during her life and after her death. Anxious about her not being able to write, or write well. The Plath Estate has a strict control over Plath materials.  controversies in her biographies. The only biography endorsed by them ( Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath 1989 ) presented Plath as “a spoiled product of the 1950s whose egoistic rage inspired brilliant but obsessive poetry” BBC produces the film Ted and Sylvia, starring Gwyneth Paltrow. The Estate, again, does not let the film use her poems. (source: Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 152: American Novelists Since World War II, Fourth Series. A Bruccoli Clark Layman Book. Edited by James Giles, Northern Illinois University and Wanda Giles, Northern Illinois University. The Gale Group, pp ).

11 “The Fifteen-Dollar Eagle” The Tattooist -- Is Carney an artist or a craftsman? If the former, what kind of artist is Carney? What is he proud of? Where are his limits? How is his tattoo art presented differently in this story from the way we understand it today? What do you think about the ‘no face, hands and feet ’ law? Tattoo in context: What does the title mean? In this story we have several characters who serve as foil to Carney: Mr. Tomolillo, his customers (the sailor, the boy) and the narrator? What do they each think about tattoo? What role does Laura play in this story?

12 “The Fifteen-Dollar Eagle”: Carney As an artist – the best and all capable, an artist of meticulous details, making dreams and constructing identities for his customers. (p. 93) As a craftsman – cater to the customers’ needs with a mixture of signs (animals, the exotic, religious) A walking ad: p. 95 His pride and limits? Adding colors to the Eagle; Limits: the ‘no face, hands and feet ’ law; no tattoo in Japan; no photos of ladies with butterflies on their legs; narrow understanding of women; solemn in front of his wife

13 “The Fifteen-Dollar Eagle”: Tattoo in context Tattoo in context: A commercial world: All of his work carefully priced, just as the customers express themselves differently with the amount of money they have. Mr. Tomolillo – no tattoo, comes for the spring; the sailor – wants the best, to show his power and have his ‘vision’ (militaristic) the boy – no heart, just a name which can be hidden the narrator – so nervous that she faints. Laura – not interested at all. Plath as the author – her ambiguities shown in the presentations of Carney, tattoo, Laura and the narrator.

14 “The Fifteen-Dollar Eagle”: the humorous and subtly ironic parts Plath’s descriptions of faces and appearance: 1.Mr. T p. 94; a praying mantis; 2.Carney: p. 95 Like a comic strip out in the rain; 3.The sailor: p. 97 diamond-shaped head 4.Carney’s action: p. 98 like a priest whetting his machete for the fatted calf 5.The boy: a smile which is “a public substitute for tears” (104)

15 Katherine Ann Porter ( ) Born in Texas. Many of Porter's stories echo her past, but she herself remained taciturn about the past. A Formalist writer under the influence of Henry James.

16 Katherine Ann Porter ( ) After her mother's death in 1892, her family moved and Porter was raised by her grandmother until the grandmother's death in She gave out romanticized stories about those early years in Kyle--rooms filled with books, faithful ex-slaves in attendance, education in a convent school; --The reality: The family of six was cramped together in a tiny house (later sold for ten dollars), and Harrison Porter, devastated by his wife's death, made no attempt to provide the economic necessities for his children. More affluent neighbors gave cast-off clothes to the Porter children. KAP, “even then proud and defiant, felt the shame of poverty.” (source: George Hendrick, "Katherine Anne Porter", In Twayne's United States Authors Series Online New York: G. K. Hall & Co., 1999 Previously published in print in 1988 by Twayne Publishers. )

17 Katherine Ann Porter ( ) James William Johnson: ”critical judgment,..., has limited her artistry in several ways. It has not permitted her to universalize but has confined her to being a `witness to life.’ Consequently her fiction has been closely tied to what she herself has experienced firsthand.”

18 “The Jilting of Granny Weatherall” (1929) From 1964 Collected Stories (which incorporates Flowering Judas and Porter's other collections as discrete units) -- the theme of betrayal What does the title mean? p. 382

19 “Jilting of GW” 1.How do you characterize Granny? What does she feel about being jilted? What is she proud of? 2.How does Granny relate to the people around her? Why is she impatient with the doctor as well as her daughter Cornelia? 3.Why is Granny pre-occupied with Hapsy?

20 Ref. “Jilting of GW”: Some Interpretations 1.John Hagopian: the moral of the story "to be that the universe has no order, the proper bridegroom never comes-- to expect him will inevitably lead to cruel disillusionment." 2.Darlene Unrue-- Granny "has identified the absent George with Christ and feels abandoned by both.“ 3.A lesbian/queer reading – Hapsy is not Granny’s daughter, but her female friend.

21 Ref. “Jilting of GW”: A Different Presentation The Film Version: 1.Told in a chronological way, from before Granny falls ill. (clip 1: her views of housework and memory of the past)clip 1 2.How the film presents Granny’s memory of being jilted (clip 2): more dramatic.clip 2 3.The death scene (clip 3).clip 3

22 Some Other Stories/Films about “House”-keeping Late 19 th -- Modern Trifles by Charlotte Perkin Gilman “Sunday at Minton” by S. Plath “A Rose for Emily” Contemporary “I Stand Here Ironing” (1961) Tillie Olsen Dancing in the Dark (a film) Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson (1983 )

23 Some Other Stories/Films of Female Artists (or Künstlerinroman) Modern To The Lighthouse (Mrs. Ramsey and Lily Briscoe) Contemporary The Lover (M. Duras) I’ve Heard the Mermaid Singing; Mansfield Park (P. Rozema) The Woman Warrior (Maxine Hong Kingston) Disappearing Moon Café (SKY Lee) Margaret Atwood’s later novels


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