"Stealing the story, salvaging the she" : feminist revisionist fiction and the bible

Goosen, Adri (2010-12)

Thesis (MA (English))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis analyses six novels by different women writers, each of which rewrites an originally androcentric biblical story from a female perspective. These novels are The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, The Garden by Elsie Aidinoff, Leaving Eden by Ann Chamberlin, The Moon under her Feet by Clysta Kinstler, The Wild Girl by Michelle Roberts and Wisdom’s Daughter by India Edghill. By classifying these novels as feminist revisionist fiction, this study considers how they both subvert and revise the biblical narratives they are based on in order to offer readers new and gynocentric alternatives. With the intention of establishing the significance of such an endeavor, the study therefore employs the findings of feminist critique and theology to expose how the Bible, as a sexist text, has inspired, directly or indirectly, many of the patriarchal values that govern Western society and religion. Having established how biblical narratives have promoted and justified visions of women as marginal, subordinate and outside the realm of the sacred, we move on to explore how feminist rewritings of such narratives might function to challenge and transform androcentric ideology, patriarchal myth and phallocentric theology. The aim is to show that the new and different stories constructed within these revisionist novels re-conceptualise and re-imagine women, their place in society and their relation to the divine. Thus, as the title suggests, this thesis ultimately considers how women writers ‘steal’ the original biblical stories and transform them in ways that prove liberating for women.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis analiseer ses romans deur verskillende vroue skrywers - romans wat die oorspronklik androsentriese bybelse stories herskryf vanuit ’n vroulike perspektief. Die romans sluit in The Red Tent deur Anita Diamant, The Garden deur Elsie Aidinoff, Leaving Eden deur Ann Chamberlin, The Moon under her Feet deur Clysta Kinstler, The Wild Girl deur Michelle Roberts en Wisdom’s Daughter deur India Edghill. Deur hierdie romans te klassifiseer as feministiese revisionistiese fiksie, oorweeg hierdie studie hoe hulle die bybelse verhale waarop hulle gebaseer is, beide ondermyn en hersien om sodoende lesers nuwe en ginosentriese alternatiewe te bied. Met die voorneme om die betekenisvolheid van so ’n poging vas te stel, wend hierdie tesis dus die bevindings van feministiese kritiek en -teologie aan om bloot te lê hoe die Bybel, as ‘n seksistiese teks, baie van die patriargale waardes van die Westerse samelewing en godsdiens, direk of indirek, geïnspireer het. Nadat vasgestel is hoe bybelse verhale sienings van vroue as marginaal, ondergeskik en buite die sfeer van heiligheid bevorder en regverdig, beweeg die tesis aan om te ondersoek hoe feministiese herskrywings van sulke verhale, androsentriese ideologie, patriargale mite en fallosentriese teologie uitdaag en herskep. Die doelwit is om te wys dat die nuwe en anderste stories saamgestel in hierdie revisionistiese romans, vroue, hul plek in die samelewing en hul betrekking tot die goddelike, kan heroorweeg en herdink. Dus, soos die titel voorstel, oorweeg hierdie tesis primêr hoe vroue skrywers die oorspronklike bybelse stories ‘steel’ en herskep op maniere wat bevrydend vir vrouens blyk te wees.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/5338
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