Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

Volume 10 : 4 April 2010
ISSN 1930-2940

Managing Editor: M. S. Thirumalai, Ph.D.
Editors: B. Mallikarjun, Ph.D.
         Sam Mohanlal, Ph.D.
         B. A. Sharada, Ph.D.
         A. R. Fatihi, Ph.D.
         Lakhan Gusain, Ph.D.
         K. Karunakaran, Ph.D.
         Jennifer Marie Bayer, Ph.D.
         S. M. Ravichandran, Ph.D.



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Feminist Literary Criticism

Shilpi Goel, M.A., M.Phil.


Feminist Literary Criticism is the rebellion of the female consciousness against the male images of female identity and experience. The concept of female identity shows us how female experience is transformed into female consciousness, often in reaction to male paradigms for female experience. It is an ideology that opposes the political, economical and cultural relegation of women to positions of inferiority. The critical project of Feminist critics is thus concerned with" uncovering the contingencies of gender" as a cultural, social and political construct and instrument of domination. This paper offers a comprehensive guide to the history and development of Feminist Literary Criticism and a lively assessment of the main issues and authors in the field.

Key Words: Feminist Literary Criticism, consciousness, oppression.

Three Waves of Feminist Literary Criticism

The concept of Feminist Literary Criticism came out as one of the crucial developments in literary studies. The term Feminism is derived from French term "feminist" which was used regularly in English for a belief in and advocacy of equal rights for women based on the idea of the equality of the sexes. Its studies have been broad and varied from the mid-19th century until the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.

There are three waves of Feminist Literary Criticism, which are described as "Waves Model":

"First Wave" feminism: In the 1830s, the main issues were abolition of slavery and women's rights. 1848 - Women's Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, NY. 1920 - the 19th Amendment guaranteed women the right to vote.

"Second Wave" feminism: Feminism waned between the two world wars, to be "revived" in the late 1960's and early 1970's as "Second Wave" feminism. In this second wave, feminists pushed beyond the early quest for political rights to fight for greater equality across the board, e.g., in education, the workplace, and at home.

"Third Wave" feminism: More recent transformations of feminism have resulted in a "Third Wave". It began in the early 1990s. Third Wave feminists often criticize Second Wave feminism for its lack of attention to the differences among men and women due to race, ethnicity, class, nationality, and emphasize "identity" as a site of gender struggle.

Intentions of Feminist Criticism

The main intentions of feminist criticism are:

  • To unfold and widen the female tradition of writing
  • To interpret symbolism of women's writing so that it will not be lost or ignored by the male point of view
  • To help women's writings retain or gain a significant place even in the world of men
  • To consider female writer and their writings from the perspective of a women
  • To prevent sexism in literary texts
  • To augment alertness regarding sexual politics of language and its approach

This is only the beginning part of the article. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLE IN PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION.

The Influence of First Language Grammar (L1) on the English Language (L2) Writing of Tamil School Students: A Case Study from Malaysia | Economic Hardship and Emotional Humiliation in Mulk Raj Anand's Untouchable | Effects of Using Urdu Dictionary as a Teaching Tool for Teaching Urdu in Urdu Language Classroom in Pakistan | Acoustic Correlates of Stress in Mizo, a Tonal Language | Racism and the American Dream in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men | Stimulating Language Strategies through Thinking - Help for Slow Learners | Masses as the True Makers of History - Analysis of the Play The Trial of Dedan Mimathi | Personal and Labour Market Environment Factors in English for Employability: A Case Study of KSA | A Study of the Reported Language Skill Development Strategies of the Student Teachers in Pakistan | Strategies for Communication Skills Development | Schema in Learning | Achieving Professional Goals: Use of a Mixed Discourse in Interviews | The Reality in Langston Hughes' Poems | Techniques to Teach Vocabulary to Regional Medium Students | Life History of Buddha as Reflected in Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha | Technique as Voyage of Discovery: A Study of the Techniques in Dante's Paradiso | Some Gaps in the Current Studies of Reading in Second/Foreign Language Learning | Unmasking Student Competence: Using Computers to Teach Writing | Feminist Literary Criticism | Amy Tan and Chinese American Literature | An Acoustic Analysis of Glottal Fricative [h] at Word Medial and Final Positions:
A Comparison between Regular and Non-regular Urdu Speakers of Pakistan
| Teaching Writing Skills | Self-esteem of Institutionalised Elderly Women in Coimbatore - A Case History | An Assessment on Women's Work Participation and Economic Equality | Economics of Crime : A Comparative Analysis of the Socio-Economic Conditions of Convicted Female and Male Criminality in Selected Prisons in Tamil Nadu | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF APRIL 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of April 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR

Shilpi Goel, M.A., M.Phil.
Applied Science & Humanities Department
Krishna Institute of Engineering & Technology
13 km stone, Ghaziabad-Meerut Road
Ghaziabad 201206
Uttar Pradesh, India

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