Commodification and Objectification of Women in Kate Chopin’s The Awakening and The Golden Notebook by Doris Lessing: New French Feminism’s Critique

Mercy Ijeoma O. Ezeala, Regina Rudaityte


New French feminism asserts that the structured deprivation of women has its core in language. A society governed by the Symbolic order views women through patriarchal lenses and considers them as verbal constructs. Such representations reflect the cultural views of society. This paper uses the psychoanalytic and language theories of new French feminism to explore the depictions of women in The awakening and The golden notebook to identify the representations that subjugate, exclude, and repress them from selfhood. The analysis is more of a textual interaction than sociological, with emphasis on the use of patriarchal language in creating the woman. While The awakening and The golden notebook seem to confirm the representations of the woman as an object, a deficient binary opposite of the male and nothing more than a caregiver and sex provider, this study foregrounds the underlying voices of the texts sceptical of the representations. Both texts question these representations implying that the arbitrariness of language highlights the dichotomy of ascribing fixed and negative identities to the female; hence, patriarchal language is defective.


Patriarchy, Representation, Feminism, The Awakening, The Golden Notebook, Semantic Derogation, Women Objectification

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