Ladies av Mara Lee– en chick-lit som alla andra? : En narratologisk och diskursanalytisk studie av Ladies och chick-lit-genren.
My thesis deals with the novel Ladies, written in 2007 by the Swedish author Mara Lee. When published, it was received as a book belonging to the chick lit genre but still got good reviews. This combination is really unusual and awoke my interest in the novel. My thesis is therefore an analysis whether Ladies can be considered a chick lit novel or not, and in what way it is similar to or differs from the genre.
I start my thesis with an overview of former research of chick lit and what earlier was called trivial literature. Here Lisbeth Larsson’s En annan historia, [Another Story], Janice Radway’s Reading the Romance and Suzanne Ferriss’ and Mallory Young’s anthology Chick Lit The New Woman’s Fiction were necessary to understand the background of the genre.
After the research overview I continue with a narratological analysis, using the concepts of Maria Nikolajeva’s Barnbokens byggklossar [The Bricks of the Children Book] to look at the structure of a chick lit story. After finishing my chick lit genre analysis I try to complete my own definition of the genre.
I find the themes love, sexuality and body focus in Ladies especially interesting and therefore choose to look closer into how these areas are represented in the book. By using Judith Butler’s concepts the heterosexual matrix, the represented gender and Tiina Rosenberg’s hetero normativity I analyse the representation of the themes.
In the final discussion I compare my different analyses and my conclusion shows that Ladies can’t be considered belonging to the chick lit genre. The biggest difference lies in how love and sexuality are represented in the book compared to chick lit novels. Whereas chick lit in many cases confirms gender stereotypes and conservative norms, Ladies actually, according to my analysis, questions them.
In the end I am finally doing a short reflection about the novel and the author using Pierre Bourdieus concepts about symbolic resources and ”habitus”.
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