Matrophobic Aspects in Marsha Norman’s Getting Out

Aisha T. Alahmari

Abstract


This paper will attempt to prove that the American playwright Marsha Norman uses the American stage to explore the mother-daughter relationship, which is universally meaningful to women. The paper analyzes the nature of the relationship between Mother Holsclaw and her daughter Arlene in Marsha Norman’s play Getting Out. The maternal relationship between mother and daughter is tinged with matrophobia. Norman, the female playwright, emerged in a time where female writers had to take the extra mile to prove themselves among male theatre patrons, and the fact that she touches on the relationship between mothers and daughters added some difficulties for her to be accepted. However, we all know that Norman is a successful Pulitzer Prize dramatist now. The paper conducts a thorough and detailed analysis of the play and traces the theme of matrophobia through the mother-daughter relationship in the play. The analysis is aided by Elaine Showalter’s discussion of feminism and the phases it went through. With the help of few outstanding writers on feminism and motherhood like Adrienne Rich, and D. Lynn O’Brien Hallstein, the paper investigates Norman’s own different mother figures who shaped her life experience and the different mother figures who go through Arlene’s life too. The question is where Norman stands from this idea of matrophobia and its existence in a daughter’s life, and to what extent it affects her character’s ability to mother her own son. Despite the awkward relationship that Arlene has with her mother, she actually defies the demon of matrophobia and looks forward to joining her son.

Keywords


American Drama, Matrophobia, Feminism, Marsha Norman, Theatre

Full Text:

PDF

References


Norman, Marsha. Collected Works. Vol. 1. New York: Smith &Krause Books, 1998. Print.

---. Getting Out. Norman, Collected 4-60.

Secondary Sources:

Bettie, Elisabeth. Conversations with Kentucky Writers. Kentucky: Kentucky UP, 1996. Print.

Betsko, Kathleen, and Rachel Koenig. Interviews with Contemporary Women Playwrights. New York: William Morrow. 1987. Print.

Bigsby, Christopher. Contemporary American Playwrights. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. Print.

Brater, Enoch. Ed. Feminine Focus: The New Women Playwrights. New York: Oxford UP, 1989. Print.

Brown, Janet. Taking Center Stage: Feminism in Contemporary U.S. Drama. London: Scarecrow Press, 1992. Print.

Craig, Carolyn Casey. Women Pulitzer Playwrights. Jefferson: McFarland, 2004. Print.

Friday, Nancy. My Mother/ Myself: The Daughter’s Search for Identity. New York: Delacorte, 1987. Web.

Hallstein, D. Lynn O’Brien. White Feminists and Contemporary Maternity: Purging Matrophobia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Print.

Harriott, Esther. American Voices: Five Contemporary Playwrights in Essays and Interviews. Jefferson: McFarland, 2013. Print.

Murphy, Brenda. The Cambridge Companion to American Women Playwrights. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1999. Print.

O’Reilly, Andrea ed. From Motherhood to Mothering: The Legacy of Adrienne Rich’s Of Women Born. New York: State UP, 2004. Web.

Porter, Lauren. “Contemporary Playwrights/ Traditional Forms.” Murphy 195-212. Print.

Rich, Adrienne. Of Woman Born: Motherhood as Experience and Institution. London: W. W. Norton, 1995. Print.

Rogers, Deborah D. The Matrophobic Gothic and Its Legacy: Sacrificing Mothers in the Novel and in Popular Culture. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. Web.

Savran, David. In Their Own Words: Contemporary American Playwrights. New York: Theatre Communication, 1993. Print.

Showalter, Elaine, ed. The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature Theory. New York: Pantheon, 1985. Print.

Stanley, Alessandra. “Theatre; Marsha Norman Finds Her Lost Key to Broadway.” New York Times 21 Apr 1991. Web.

Stone, Elizabeth. “Playwright Marsha Norman: An Optimist Writes about Suicide, Confinement and Despair.” Ms. (1983): 56-59.

Sukenick, Lynn. “Feeling and Reason in Doris Lessing’s Fiction.” Contemporary Literature14.4(1973): 517-539. Web.


Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2019 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.