The Politics of the Feminist Novel

The Politics of the Feminist Novel

The Politics of the Feminist Novel

The Politics of the Feminist Novel

Excerpt

The argument that accurate character portrayals are a result of an author's greatness, not an outcome of his or her sex, can lead to the conclusion that there is no need to focus on an author's sex. This viewpoint may have a certain validity, but one must add that many women agree with Isadora Wing that the women characters men create never represent anyone with whom the female reader can identify. Differences in the development of female characters are only one of many disunities between novels written by male and female authors. These divergences result in part from women's separation from their societies and from a subsequently altered vision, a vision that argues against Simone de Beauvoir's statement that woman cannot oppose positive truths and values of her own to those asserted and upheld by males; she can only deny them." Not only can she assert them; she is doing so. Perhaps there are some benefits to be derived from having been separated from a dominant culture. Possibly it is because of this separation that de Beauvoir can observe of Stendhal's characters: "The socalled serious man is really futile, because he accepts readymade justifications for his life; whereas a passionate and profound woman revises established values from moment to moment." Perhaps, too, female authors can say of their societies . . .

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