From Immanence to Transcendence in Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), Desire under the Elms (1924) and Willa Cather’s The Bohemian Girl (1912).
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The aim of this present work has examined the issue of women's new feminine identity in Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra (1931), Desire Under the Elms (1924), and in Willa Cather's The Bohemian Girl (1912). To highlight women's hard living conditions and oppression in American patriarchal society, I have borrowed some theoretical concepts from Simone de Beauvoir's feminist thought as developed in The Second Sex (1949). Among these concepts are Immanence, Transcendence, Mothering, Work, and Search for owning. De Beauvoir’s ideal about feminine identity construction has proved to be adequate for us to better understand women’s family, social and cultural position within the American reality. It also helped to demonstrate their struggles for equality and liberation from the patriarchal oppressive values and norms. This dissertation has been divided into three major sections. Its ‘Discussion’ section has three chapters; each one deals with one work. The first chapter is entitled ‘Patriarchal Oppression and Revolt in E. O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra’. It has analyzed the identity construction process and the gender roles of Ezra, Christine and their daughter Lavinia. The second chapter is ‘Work and Search for Patrimony in E. O’Neill’s Desire under the Elms’ and it has sought to explain the identity problems related to either the masculinity of Ephraim and Eben Cabot or to the femininity of Abbie Putnam. As to third chapter whose title is ‘Mothering and Myth as Feminine Identity Obstruction in Willa Cather's The Bohemian Girl’, it has centered on Mrs. Ericson, Clara Vavrika and Nils. Each has contended to express identity aspirations throughout personal stands toward major cultural issues such as mothering, man-invented myths and domesticity within a harsh rural setting. As a conclusion, it can be noticed that the two writers gave voice to women in their works; they made them undertake rebellion and defiance against the oppression of the patriarchal society though they often have different personal opinions about the difficulties they have encountered.
- Département d'Anglais