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"The Sibyl was safe in her jar, no one could touch her, she wanted to die": Possessing Culture and Passion in A.S. Byatt's Possession
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the essay is to discuss the power narration has over our gender roles. John Fiske and Pierre Bourdieu´s theoretical texts have been used to discuss the connection between power and culture in A.S. Byatt’s novel Possession: A Romance. Possession demonstrates how male academics take part in shaping knowledge about the past and the present from their perspective. Byatt uses allusions to myth and folktales to emphasise both the romance theme of the novel and how the past has formed us and continues to affect us in our relationships and social roles. The novel reveals how women are trapped by cultural myths about women’s roles in society. The female characters’ fates demonstrate the complexity of heterosexual relationships for independent women in a society where women are supposed to be taken care of by men. The roles imposed on women in romance stories in particular can be seen as a reductionist patriarchal view of women. Byatt emphasizes how women who at varying levels do not collaborate with men are punished for their chosen lifestyles and how some, like homosexual women, have been removed or have chosen to remove themselves from society in different ways. Byatt attempts to demythologize social myths concerning women and men by rewriting traditional myths and fairy tales. Still, Possession does not ultimately challenge the importance of the heterosexual relationship or the male and female characters’ gender roles.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. , 43 p.
Keyword [en]
social constructivism, gender identity development, romance novels, self-possession, reader-response theory, Pierre Bourdieu, John Fiske, A.S. Byatt, Possession: a Romance.
National Category
Languages and Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-33377OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-33377DiVA: diva2:1092972
Subject / course
English
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2017-05-04 Created: 2017-05-04 Last updated: 2017-05-04Bibliographically approved

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Type fulltextMimetype application/pdf

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf