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Quest For Self Identity In Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing And The Bell Jar, By Sylvia Plath

2178 words - 9 pages

As the post-colonial criticism developed, the theorists have agreed upon the fact that the role of feminism in the post-colonial practice is crucial. Moreover, these two theories clearly have the same goals. On the one hand, the main objective of both of them is to disclose the traditional power structures, both patriarchal and imperial. On the other hand, both feminism and post-colonial criticism aim to show the way the writers challenge the respective forms of authority. The main concerns of the post-colonial criticism are the formation of canon, the phases through which imperialism and decolonization have gone, as well as how these processes are expressed in literature. What is more, the criticism is also concerned with the ways of resistance within literary pieces, such as rewritings of traditional concepts and creating voices that stand in opposition. All these issues become the matrix and concern of feminist criticism. Not the least, crucial to feminism is also pointing at the notion of diversity. For many women, the process of writing is an expression of themselves, it allows them to “throw off their chains” and to struggle for more autonomy.

The twentieth century has given rise to women’s efforts to fight for their rights in the Western world. In the forties, they were relatively emancipated, since they perceived the encouragements to enter the workplace. There, they could enjoy a relative independence and they felt responsible. They proved that they can be “effectual workers”, but when the World War II was over, they had to face new requirements: they had to give up the jobs to the males coming back from the war (“Feminism”). They were and felt misplaced, everyone expected them to take care of their homeplace instead. What is more, they had to fulfill the role of a perfect mother and wife. The fact that earlier they were able to taste independence, career and pay reminded women that there was still much work to be done.

This paper is an attempt to have a closer look at famous novels Surfacing by a Canadian women writer Margaret Atwood and The Bell Jar by an American women writer Sylvia Plath, Even though Surfacing, is the work of a Canadian Ecofeminist a novelist who played a crucial role in forming the Canadian literary canon and Atwood’s novel Surfacing was published in 1972. But The Bell Jar is American writer and poet Sylvia Plath's only novel, which was originally published under the pseudonym "Victoria Lucas" in 1963. The novel is semi-autobiographical with the names of places and people changed. The book is often regarded as a roman à clef, with the protagonist's descent into mental illness paralleling Plath's own experiences with what may have been depression. The paper mainly focuses on how the women characters are suffering and how they are able to find their female identity in a patriartical society in their novels.
There are several ways through which an identity is formed; having self-knowledge which has been...

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