After reading away of understanding
Europe and north America’s feminist movements, the US’s civil rights movement and other movements in former colonies such as Africa implicated the encounter of the West’s master doctrines that highly regarded Caucasian men as ideal humans. 3 As Ania Loomba explains: The post-structuralist suspicion of established truths was shared by various new social movements which also challenged the meta-narratives that had previously excluded them. Anti-colonial and feminist struggles emphasised culture as a site of conflict between the oppressors and the oppressed. The decentring of the human subject was important to them because such a subject had been predominantly theorised by European imperialist discourses as male and white. They also paid attention to language as a tool of domination and as a means of constructing identity.
Within literary feminist criticism, the theoretical underpinnings of this study may be identified with what is broadly categorized as third wave feminism. A close and deep reading of text reveals the effects of Wahhabi nationalism and patriarchy on individuals and national identities, and how women’s imaginations become a means of resistance to male domination or reproduce some stereotypical views of women. This often means looking for what is not overtly said in order to make important connections. These connections can bring new meaning to imagery or metaphors within a text, or point to relevant historical intertexts which may bring to light repressed textual memories, marginal discourses, or silenced voices. 1 Identity Theory Identity comprises one of the most dynamic ideologies as peculiar approaches present differentiating ideas and meanings thus making it difficult for one to identify.
Erikson’s theory begins by asserting that the entry of each stage is commences with a crisis, and one’s personality is developed in regard to the encounter of every crisis. In other words, proper management of a specific crisis suggests one’s complexity in personality. Additionally, Erikson recognized that one’s personal development is affected by external factors such as social and environmental factors. 11 Marcia (1966) developed a framework for studying the concept of identity as coined by Erikson by using crisis as its organizing principle. According to the Erikson’s theory, crisis is period of decision-making, whereby individuals explores existing alternatives, put options in real-life contexts, and considering new ways of imaging situations. Overall, based on Said’s premises, it could be deduced that identity is consistently changeable as this is dependent on the power relations, although some of these powers are over-determining.
19 Clearly, none of the existing proponents of various theories identified gender as such vital in their theories. Similarly, neither of the theories presents female identity as distinct from the male identity. 20 However, these theories may help one to conceptualize the principles underlying personality and writing that are similar in both males and females, yet there is no clear aid in conceptualizing the female personal identity even as feminist theories have derived detailed and cognitive psychoanalytic and sociological perspectives behind peculiarities in gender. 2 Feminism and Gender Identity When considering gender identity, a feminist understanding is concerned with the consciousness of the oppression that women living in patriarchal societies face. Woman, on the other hand, represents the ‘other’, which functions to define the ‘self’ that is the man: She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her, she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential.
He is the Subject, he is the Absolute, she is the Other. 28 On the contrary, de Beauvoir believes that the woman is a human being who has the potential for independent freedom, but she finds herself in a world where the man is keen to have her play the role of the ‘other’ (or ‘second’) sex. Discussions of gender identity inevitably return to woman’s roles. As De Beauvoir presents the concept of motherhood from the perspective that it propels the woman into a sphere of slavery, she also criticizes the social code which confines the role of the woman to being a wife or a mother. 32 She concentrated on the importance of the pre-Oedipal period in the development of the child, arguing that the mother-infant relationship differs according to gender.
33 According to Chodorow, the identification and symbiosis among mothers and daughters identification and symbiosis with each other is powerful in a sense that they never fully attain a clear-cut separation. Therefore, ego boundaries constantly remain fluid and undefined. Contrary to this notion, boys need to learn how gender identity makes them neither females nor mothers. 34 For feminist literary critics, Chodorow’s work has proved to be enormously influential, as Judith Kegan Gardiner notes: By providing a comprehensive and relatively simple explanation for differences between male and female personalities as they are structured in Western culture, [the theories of Chodorow] offer to account for differences between literature written by women and by men. The theory had its primary premise that language is inherently unstable; hence, words and phrases could be interpreted in multiple ways, resulting in varying meanings from the viewpoint of the reader.
Derrida believed that perspective and subjectivity of the individuals interpreting words or phrases plays a central role in their final meanings. 37 Another theorist, Michel Foucault, proposed the concept of discourse, which posted that identity and power are neither fixed nor secure, but quite often than not, subjected to change, movement, change, and with the greatest likelihood of disruption. 38 Another notion providing a differing viewpoint is that suggested by Jacques Lacan. According Lucan, the function of the language is to evoke the sense of recognition and identify on the side of the speaker as opposed to merely playing an informative role based on psychoanalysis notion. ln so doing, she subverts male discourse on women, using the maternal as a metaphor with which to overturn patriarchal logic, promoting and producing in its place a new, woman-centred inscription of feminine ‘difference’.
43 What is more, Cixous further argued that maternity is deeply ingrained into the very rhythm and texture of feminine writing. She took her writing as an example to show how relation is contradictory to the maternal realm. This is evident since ‘her writing is always marked by her mother’s (different, feminine) voice’44 in which more generally feminine writing is associated with the unconscious pre-Oedipal relationship with the mother. Cixous exploits writing to advance her revolutionary ideas as it pertains to feminine difference. Irigaray. 50 Similarly, Julia Kristeva (1986) posts that feminine identity is suffocated and marginalized within the predominant masculinist discourse. Drawing heavily on the concepts of other theorists like Lacanian’s viewpoints regarding subjectivity and symbolic order and deconstruction ideologies by Derrida, Kristeva proposed that feminine in both language and subjectivity is available to women and men alike.
She further claims that it offers a means women could subvert and disrupt the authoritarian (male-dominated) processes in linguistic. 51 These premises presents Kristeva as a theorist who strongly believed in ‘semiotic’ view of pre-Oedipal space that comes ahead of the acquisition of language, and importantly, a triumph into symbolic order. Through the use of logical progression, has refreshed feminism by attempts of postmodern theorists to answer core questions and make multiple assumptions that traditionally were left unexplored. The great extent of postmodern feminist theory proposed in the 1970s and 1980s, although they have faced criticism due to their inflexibility and generalization of models of womanhood. Notably, despite the increased recognition they received at the time, a concern regarding their inability to account for cultural, social, and historical differences have been on the rise.
They all share a common viewpoint that monolithic and dominant patriarchy lead to some kind of female identity, which is normally characterized by the failure to account for the significant differences between cultural, and socio-historical contexts where the foundation of identity could be laid. 56 Thus, the fact that women occupy different positions in society in terms of class and race make the idea of a unified and universal feminine subject problematic,57 which I will discuss in the next section. The text, Arabic, Self and Identity, provides an in-depth analysis of the symbolic importance of identity and displacement as demonstrated by Said and the co-authors. 62 The current study will focus on intertextuality. It is common that writers read texts of other authors is not new according to illustrations provided by Michael Worton and Judith Still.
These authors demonstrates the applicability of the concept of authors reading texts by other authors has its origin in Ancient Greece and in practice has been well-established in Classical Arabic poetry. 63 The Arabic literary critics since the beginning of the 1980s have been showing an increasing interest in the term ‘intertextuality’ following the drastic spread of dialogism concept. These studies gave a new definition of ‘intertextuality’ and more applicable in the Wetern world. Gérard Genette, a French scholar, came after Barthes who then advanced the term further by incorporating a methodological approach to understanding it. The scholar also isolated its limitation and categorised its meanings. Genette achieved this by exploiting his book Palimpsestes (1982), whereby the author provided an exploration of the notion ‘poetical’ and at the same time trying to put together its constituent fragments.
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