Appropriation, subversion and separatism : the strategies of three New Zealand women novelists : Jane Mander, Robin Hyde and Sylvia Ashton-Warner.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
In this thesis I propose to examine the relationship between three New Zealand woman novelists, Jane Mander, Robin Hyde and Sylvia Ashton-Warner, and the literary and social structures which prevailed in New Zealand at the time when each writer produced her works. My analysis is based on the contemporary feminist literary theory and criticism which highlights the importance of studying women writers' interaction with the cultural system and the literary differences which arise from the difference in gender. I begin with an outline of the feminist literary theories which have shaped my approach. Then I deal with each of my subjects in succession. In respect of each, I outline the social circumstances, in particular the prevailing ideologies pertaining to women's roles. This is followed by discussion of the literary circumstances, once again with special attention to the position of women writers. The analysis of the texts which follows focusses on three main areas, namely the response of each to the patriarchal dominance of society, to the constructs of female identity imposed by society and to the norms of the dominant literary tradition. The conclusions I reach are that these writers adopt three main strategies in their texts in reaction to the social and literary contexts, namely appropriation, subversion and separatism.