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On Colleen Mccullough’s Concepts of Women Seen in the Thorn Birds

Author MaXiaoJing
Tutor JiangLei
School Liaoning University
Course English Language and Literature
Keywords feminism female consciousness patriarchy harmony
CLC
Type Master's thesis
Year 2011
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Australian writer Colleen McCullough is a versatile writer. Her first well-known work The Thorn Birds is not only popular in America but also becomes the“the international best-selling novel”. The novel moves millions of readers and is regarded as the Australian“Gone with the Wind”.The Thorn Birds is a family novel, whose theme is love and fate. The novel depicts the life and emotion experience of the three generations of the Clearys. This thesis mainly analyzes the female characters in The Thorn Birds from feminism perspective, through which we can see Colleen McCullough’s women concepts. The novel shows the course of women promoting themselves in the patriarchal society through the three generations’love and marriage life. In the novel, the process of women struggling the oppression of the patriarchal society and pursuing individual idea and happiness reflects the development process of Colleen McCullough’s women concepts. It helps us to understand feminism deeper.This thesis is composed of introduction, body and conclusion.The introduction briefly introduces the author’s life experience and her literature achievements and clarifies the current domestic and international researching situation on this work and the writing purpose and reality meaning. Analyzing The Thorn Birds from the female inspective to see the writer’s women concepts can guide us to deal with the relationship between women and men. We should get rid of the narrow understanding of feminism. Excluding male is not the prerequisite of Women’s independence, self-esteem, and self-renewal. The inequality between men and women should not be put forward in the opposite attitude but in the harmonious attitude. We should look for the best way to create a world in which men and women co-exist harmoniously. Then the world will develop peacefully.The body includes three chapters:Chapter one has three parts. The first part mainly introduces the definition of feminism. The sole aim is to achieve equality between men and women in the whole world. The second part introduces the development of feminism. It is about the two climaxes of feminist movement and three main sects: the liberalist feminism, radical feminism and social feminism and their aims. The third part is about post-feminism and the new feminism after feminism.Chapter two is divided into two parts. The first part analyzes female images in The Thorn Birds in detail. Through their living conditions, the personality analysis, the writer explores the development process of female consciousness. Marie Carson, the feminist representative; Fee, the traditional women’s representative; Maggie, the persistent women; Justin, a rebellious female. The four women of different times revolt patriarchal society embodies the female consciousness’different development at different ages, also reflects the writer Colleen McCullough’s promoting process of her views on women. The second part through the above theory and character analysis reveals the author Colleen McCullough women concepts’advancement and limitations. Progressiveness mainly reflects in female love freedom and economic independence consciousness, the awakening of independent personality. Maggie fights against patriarchy and the God bravely in order to pursue her love and happiness; Marie Carson uses her own intelligent mind to make herself become the richest person to escape from the patriarchal control and she succeeds. Father Ralph gets his pursuit of power with her property, to a certain extent this is irony to the patriarchal society. Justin behaves more perfectly. She not only has her career, but also gains a good love and gets real independent personality. At the same time a male character appears, the relationship between Rainer and Justin is the reflection of the harmonious relationship between men and women. They respect each other and help each other. This is exactly the core of Colleen McCullough’s women concepts. It makes us realize how to deal with the problem of equality between men and women that are not resolved for a long time. Completely opposing attitude will not solve the problem. Treating the differences between men and women and exerting their own advantages and harmonious coexistence can reach the goal.However, McCullough’s views also have limitations. She can not get rid of the influence of patriarchal culture, which is fully embodied on the character. In order to get rid of the male dominance, Marie Carson erases all her feminity. She lives a widow’s life for a very long time and doesn’t have happiness that she should have. At last her psychology becomes distorted. The people around her dare not go closer to her and call her "old spider". Thus female success is based on abandoning female temperament and closing up towards males. This obviously reflects the author can not go out of the influence of the patriarchal culture.Chapter three mainly analyses the reasons for the formation of Colleen McCullough’s women concepts. There are two major parts: the first part analyzes the influence of her personal life experiences. Her life and the social background make a great influence on her. Internationalization makes the feminist movement popular all over the world. She receives inspiration from the feminist movement. What she gets from women movement is reflected in the characters in her novel. The second part analyzes the influences of the male-dominated system. The man controls the female so long that the women are easily to trap into the male discourse.The conclusion generalizes and summarizes the thesis. Colleen McCullough creates the distinct character images in her novel. And through the process of the female characters struggling against the patriarchy, she shows her women concepts clearly. Her views have certain significance on dealing with the equality problem: In order to fulfill their values, women should know themselves and know men, should see what they have and what they can do. The ego that woman wants to fulfill should be the one which is open to the social reality and is also open to the men. The female should create the world with the male; meanwhile the male should also have a correct view on themselves and the female. The world is composed of men and women, and they should respect and help each other and create a better world. Feminism should be a harmonious theory.

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