This essay will ultimately contest Anthony Giddens’ statement that our sense of self, our identity, is not derived from our ‘subjectivity’ – “determined by one’s own mind or consciousness” – but instead comes about through ‘inter-subjectivity’, our relationships “between, among” others. In order to discuss Giddens’ aforementioned quote, I will make reference to the concept of the ‘mirror stage’ formulated by Jacques Lacan, a concept which stipulates that our “sense of self, then, comes from something external.” Following Lacan’s lead, I will provide examples from Sarah Waters’ ‘Affinity’ and Helen Simpson’s ‘Hey yeah right get’ a life that appear to provide support for the notion that it is our relationships among others which provides the basis for our sense of self. Closely examining Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘Confessions’ and Friedrich Nietzsche’s ‘Beyond Good and Evil’, I will then proceed to deconstruct Giddens’ statement, showing how ‘inter-subjectivity’ cannot be the guarantor of one’s sense of self. The final step of this deconstruction will be to demonstrate that ‘subjectivity’ and ‘inter-subjectivity’ are not even categorically distinct concepts, and I shall highlight the inextricable interplay between the two terms, inherent in their definition, with an example from Jim Crace’s ‘Being Dead’.
Before discussing Kate Chopin’s statement with reference to four texts studied on the module, I intend to employ Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive methodology with a view to teasing out the implications of this quotation.[…]
In this essay I will examine the extent to which women are shackled by patriarchy in William Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘The Merchant of Venice’. I will firstly apply Vladimir Propp’s tool of narrative analysis to ‘Twelfth Night’ in order to provide Structuralist evidence for the Feminist critique of this play propounded by Lisa Jardine. I will then extend Jardine’s contentions to ‘The Merchant of Venice’, using Propp’s narratological principles to highlight the various ways in which women are constrained by patriarchy in this play. The insights which arise from this methodology will be fully explored in the conclusion to this essay.[…]
In this essay I will undertake a close textual analysis of Chapter XXXIX in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening. I aim to illustrate the plethora of literary techniques that Chopin employs in this closing chapter. With a view to offering a personal response to this material, I will then link The Awakening to the Pre-Raphaelite movement in art and literature. Finally, I shall compare The Awakening’s Edna to Hamlet’s Ophelia using Jacques Lacan’s psychoanalytic tool for literary interpretation.
In this critique of Raymond Carver’s “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”, I aim to demonstrate that Mel McGinnis cathartically releases his views on love onto an educated threesome (his wife, Terri, his friend, Nick, and Nick’s wife, Laura). Mel has been deeply considering the nature of love; by the end of the critique I hope to illustrate how Mel totally dominates the conversation to get his ideas across by closely analysing the following constructs in relation to each individual: rapport; kinesics; gaze behaviour; tonality and linguistic register; and by placing each character within one of the five Satir Categories.[…]
In this essay I will discuss the representation of women’s experience within the patriarchal scheme of things, with reference to Mary Wollstonecraft’s ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’, Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Room of One’s Own’, and Susan Glaspell’s ‘Trifles’. I aim to highlight the theme of female subjugation within a male-dominated world that is common to all three authors, and examine the reasons proposed by Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf to explain such a prejudiced constitution of society. Finally, I shall demonstrate that Susan Glaspell’s literary genius produced a play that puts forward a strong statement on the necessity of female solidarity if women are to survive in a sex-biased society.[…]
In this essay I will ultimately confirm Thomas Wolfe’s statement, concluding that all serious work in literature is a product of ‘fictional’ and ‘autobiographical’ elements. In order to arrive at this conclusion, I will firstly establish a provisional opposition in the form ‘autobiography’/’fiction’ that corresponds to the distinction between the ‘truth’/’untruth’ of the textual substance of serious literary works. Having thus distinguished the terms ‘autobiography’ and ‘fiction’, I will show that aspects of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ‘Confessions’ are undeniably rooted in reality, and highlight components of the narrative related in Philip K. Dick’s ‘Valis’ that are founded purely on imagination – thus offering evidence that apparently refutes Wolfe’s statement. From a post-structuralist perspective, I will deconstruct the argument that these two texts are uncorrupted representatives of ‘two’ literary genres by highlighting the ‘fictional’ elements of the Confessions with reference to Paul de Man, and shedding light on the ‘autobiographical’ basis of ‘Valis’. A further deconstruction of the terms ‘fiction’ and ‘autobiography’ will demonstrate that these terms cannot guarantee the (un-/)truthfulness of a literary text, as they are contaminated by one another at the etymological level. I will illustrate the ‘fictional’ technique of verisimilitude that further blurs the boundaries between ‘truth’/’untruth’, before using a scene from the film ‘V For Vendetta’ to exemplify Paul de Man’s belief that ‘autobiography’ is not a distinct literary genre, but, rather, a figure of reading or understanding literary texts, and that, therefore, all texts are at once both ‘autobiographical’ and ‘fictional’.