A Critical Study of Some of the Novels of Anita Brookner with Reference to the Theme of Feminism in the Twentieth Century.Haikal, Nermin
AbstractA Critical Study of Some of the Novels of Anita Brookner with Reference to the Theme of Feminism in the Twentieth Century. Contemporary women writers who are not declared feminists may still be the subject of feminist criticism. Among those contemporary novelists who prefer to be termed a ‘woman writer’ is Anita Brookner. The present study attempts to determine Anita Brookner’s stand with regard to women’s issues as well as her position among British women writers. Reasons for Brookner’s preference to be termed a ‘woman writer’ and not a feminist one are examined. While taking into consideration Brookner’s reluctance to admit to a feminist standpoint, four of her novels are analysed from a feminist point of view. After a brief survey of the feminist movement in European and American literature, the body of the work analyses the character relationships in A Start in Life (1981), Hotel du Lac (1984), A Misalliance (1986), and Fraud (1992), with special emphasis on the women’s views and motives. The research explores the effect of the heroines’ flawed bonds with their mothers on their later relationships. The research also depicts the protagonists’ attitudes to their careers in the novels where this arises. The present study reveals that Brookner’s portrayal of the frustrations of intellectual, financially independent women who always seek fulfilment through the social boundaries of marriage is in fact one way of revealing the negative effect of the existing social norms on women. By depicting the protagonists’ inability to fit into the existing social norms, the researcher notes that Brookner is actually questioning patriarchal assumptions. The research concludes that in clearly comprehending the effect of restrictive social norms on women, Brookner may be termed ‘post feminist’.
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