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James Joyce’s Representation of Women

Author: PengZhenZhu
Tutor: ZouQiMing
School: Guangdong University of Foreign Studies
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Joyce Dubliners Image of women Patriarchal society Ulysses Discrimination against women Feminism Women 's self - consciousness Critical methods Bloom
CLC: I106.4
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2002
Downloads: 532
Quote: 3
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Abstract


There are both attractions and challenges to write about a major male author like James Joyce in feminist terms. Joyce has been related almost exclusively to male-centered contexts and institutions, and his male characters have received much more attention than the females. The realistic women characters in his early work have been especially neglected, in favor of more symbolic and archetypal forms of woman. The critics from the start have perceived Joyce’s representation stereotypical and charged Joyce with misogyny and male chauvinism. The general assertion among the critics is that women in Joyce’s fiction consistently reflect the virgin/whore dichotomy dominant in western culture. The dichotomy between "virgin and whore," "mother and temptress" provides an oversimplified interpretation of Joyce’s representation of women.Primarily based on textual analysis, this study attempts to reinterpret Joyce’s representation of women in Dubliners and Ulysses (mainly Molly Bloom) and explore the complexities of Joyce’s attitudes towards women in the light of feminist and gender criticism. Although Joyce has his limitations in representing women, he shows more sympathy than misogyny, if any, towards domesticated women in his early short stories collected in Dubliners. Joyce’s representation of unconventional women who challenge the patriarchal values disproves that his female characters are mere passive objects without autonomy. In his representation of Molly Bloom, Joyce subverts patriarchal ideology in multiple dimensions and creates a female image that transcends patriarchal stereotypes.

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