Essay Instructions: This paper should be a contextual analysis of Adrienne Rich's "Of Woman Born" (either 1st edition 1976 OR 10th edition 1986):
IDENTITY AND PERFORMANCE OF WOMAN AS THE SUBJECT
(around focus of postmodernity & postmodernism)
Topics to address...
-the choice of motherhood, how does this define the woman/how society views the woman?
-the body is identified as a machine in a patriarchal context, how is this an issue of power & control?
-capitalist, conformist, & consumerism in relation to choice of motherhood
**This analysis should be reinforced and presented utilizing feminist and postmodernist theories and perspectives**
Excerpt From Essay:
Essay Instructions: essay topic- “It can be argued that the mother-daughter relationship is the most ambivalent of all woman-to-woman relationships” (Victoria Burrows, Whiteness and Trauma 3). Consider the significance of the mother-daughter story in Jean Rhys’s ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ and Toni Morrison’s ‘Sula’
Suggestions: I would try to anchor the essay by identifying eg four key points regarding mother-daughter relationship and then expanding on these/ looking for specific examples in the texts. Use the essay question (and issue of ambivalence) as a starting point ??" and look for instances in which characters demonstrate love/and hate towards their mothers or daughters.
Specific examples (the relationship between Antoinette and Annette, or Hannah and Sula) would help you to expand your ideas. In terms of sources, start with three or four sources that would help you to understand why the mother-daughter relationship might be an ambivalent one: eg, Burrows, Giorgio, or Rich. If necessary you could focus primarily on one text (eg Sula?) and discuss the other more briefly.
Burrows, V, Whiteness and Trauma: The Mother-Daughter Knot in the Fiction of Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid and Toni Morrison (Palgrave, 2004)
Rich, Adrienne, Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution (London: Virago, 1977)
Adalgisa, Giorgio, Writing Mothers and Daughters: Renegotiating the Mother in Western European Narratives by Women. NY and Oxford: Berghahn, 2002
Some ideas to start with could be- In the essay I will argue that the need for a mother and the issue of the Matriarch was a pivotal theme throughout both novels and many other themes are a re-working of this premise of the Mother-Daughter relationship.
In ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ we see the figure of the mother as imperfect, insane and dangerous among other things, there are other such female figures in the novel that are a symbol of the mother figure or a surrogate mother figure being reworked to demonstrate this need or search for a mother.
In ‘Wide Sargasso Sea’ we are shown many different examples of the Mother-Daughter relationship we can see the Mother as Other and the Child as Other.
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