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Title:The struggle towards self-fulfillment in comparative perspective: The theme of woman's awakening in three realist novels--Gustave Flaubert's "Madame Bovary", Kate Chopin's "The Awakening", and Arishima Takeo's "Aru Onna"
Author(s):Yonogi, Reiko
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Palencia-Roth, Michael
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Literature, Asian
Literature, Romance
Women's Studies
Literature, American
Abstract:The struggle for self-fulfillment is a major element in three realistic novels: Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary (1857), Kate Chopin's The Awakening (1899), and Arishima Takeo's Aru onna (A Certain Woman) (1919). In these three novels, romantic female characters of the bourgeois class try to free themselves from the confinement of their society and tradition and try to find a new feminine identity.
On the one hand, they are all victims of patriarchal society in which women's place is rigidly confined and virtues of women are to be a good wife and mother, and these female characters find it difficult to fit themselves to that traditional female role, and yet their societies do not allow them to explore other possibilities. But at the same time their self-destructiveness is also partly due to their own personality. Thus, in spite of their struggle for self-realization, they all fail to attain their goal constructively. This thesis examines why the struggle for self-realization of these heroines turned to self-destruction and what kinds of literary devices each author uses to accomplish the effect in terms of characterization, plot, images, symbols and narrative techniques.
Chronologically, Madame Bovary comes about fifty years earlier than The Awakening, and A Certain Woman comes even later, but the latter two novels are inspired by Madame Bovary and they are often referred to as the American Madame Bovary and the Japanese Madame Bovary. In fact, in the fictional world, both Edna and Yoko belong to the same period, the period of the turn of the century when the "New Woman" appeared. Thus, they are both modern versions of Madame Bovary in America and in Japan. Thus, Flaubert's Madame Bovary in the background, I discuss these three rebellious women who struggle to attain their goal in their own cultural limitation and how their defiance of it led them to self-destruction. I also show that in spite of the dissimilar cultural backgrounds of these heroines, human nature is fundamentally not different across cultural boundaries. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)
Issue Date:1989
Rights Information:Copyright 1989 Yonogi, Reiko
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9011084
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9011084

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