Dissertation > Literature > Literary Theory > Countries in Literature

An Ecofeminist Interpretation of the Escape in Lives of Girls and Women and Runaway

Author MengDeHui
Tutor LiuXiaoDan
School Harbin Institute of Technology
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords Alice Munro Lives of Girls and Women Runaway Ecofeminism imbalance
CLC I711.074
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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The famous contemporary short-story writer Alice Munro from Canada isconsidered as one of the most influential fiction writers all over the world. She writesin her works about the daily life of ordinary women along with lots of scenerydescription. Lives of Girls and Women and Runaway were written by Munrorespectively in the year of1971and2004, where she portrays not only the escape ofwomen out of the oppression from the patriarchal society, but also the damage ofnatural ecology due to the social development, making the resolution object ofEcofeminism: dualism and antagonism between men and women and betweencivilization and nature. The ecofeminists consider that women are equal to nature andmen are equal to civilization and they think it inadequate for the feminist theory andenvironmental ethics to exclude these two binary oppositions. Therefore, through adetailed analysis of women s compelled escape from society, men and the self as aresult of the patriarchal oppression reflected in Lives of Girls and Women andRunaway, this thesis targets at exploring a series of imbalances in human society:between ecology and civilization, women and society, women and men, as well asbetween women and the self.The research approach adopted by this thesis is the textual analysis with thetheory of Ecofeminism. The paper consists of three chapters. Based on Ecofeminism,Chapter One analyzes the contradiction between society and women. Thecontradiction between Della and society leads to her hatred of the flamboyance in thetown and her yearning for nature in the countryside; as a symbol of ecology, Tessaleaves nature for cities and ends up with being destroyed and deserted. The equalitybetween women and nature and the eagerness of women to escape from the civilizedsociety manifest the imbalances between nature and civilization, and between womenand society. Chapter Two writes about the contradiction between men and women from the ecofeminist perspective. Lauren is consistently psychologically baptized toresist the male authority, preparing for the escape in the future; Della s disagreementwith male values results in her failure in love and her escape from men; Carla runsaway with an immature feminist thought from her husband but gives up on themid-way, going on with her eagerness for escape in the future. The escape of womenfrom men shows the imbalance in the gender relationship. By the use of theecofeminist theory, Chapter Three studies women s escape from the self. Theegodystonic of Della s mother—Addie is the result of her escape from theecofeminist self; Juliet submits to male values and runs away from the self; Gracekeeps escaping from the self until the encouragement of passion but finally realizesthat the result of keeping to the self is self-destruction; in the hope of returning to theself, Robin is tricked by the fate and results in her continued escape. Women sisolation from the self proves the imbalance in their relationship.The study finds that dualism and patriarchy are the chief criminals for thetragedy of women and nature. This thesis proves that Lives of Girls and Women andRunaway indicate both Alice Munro s consideration for women s life and herecological concern. Her depiction of the imbalances between ecology and civilization,women and civilized society, women and men, as well as between women and theself implies her profound expectation for the ecological, social and gender harmony.

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