Gender Construction in Alice Munro´s Writing A Comparative Study of Early and Late Stories

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Sammanfattning: Abstract: It is civilization, and not biology, that constructs gender. The formation of childreninto gendered adults is made “naturally” by invisible societal structures and is consequentlytroublesome to reveal.My thesis is that often literary works expose implied gender patterns and hence can assist inincreasing the awareness about gender formation in society. In this essay, I explore theformation of young girls into women depicted in six short stories from two collections by theCanadian short story writer Alice Munro. The focus of the study is on the relation betweenmothers and daughters and on the division of space and power, areas acknowledged to be ofimportance in the construction of gender. An element of time is added to the study in order toexamine whether Munro´s critique is different in the two collections and whether there is anobservable change concerning women´s conditions in her more recent stories compared to herearlier ones.My findings show that gender is still seen as a construction and that the struggle forselfhood goes on in Munro´s writing. Despite economic and civic liberties, Munro´scharacters still fight to define themselves beyond gender boundaries. However, in her laterstories, society´s expectations are mainly manifested psychologically within the femalecharacters, while in the earlier stories, the expectations are of a more social character

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