Finding grace: feminine interrelationships in Alias Grace, Ana Historic, and in Another Place, Not Here
LE3 .A278 2022
Bachelor of Arts
English & Theatre Studies
This thesis examines three works of what Hélène Cixous calls écriture féminine published by Canadian women in the last two decades of the twentieth century. Through the analysis of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace, Daphne Marlatt’s Ana Historic, and Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here, I argue that the feminine interrelationships in these novels work to resist various patriarchal and colonial power structures. This work draws on and extends Marie Carrière’s argument in Writing in the Feminine in French and English Canada that ethical interrelationships of reciprocity between the self and other underpin feminine writing. In Chapter One, I argue that Atwood triangulates Grace Marks’ feminine interrelationships in Alias Grace through her relations with men. The intervention of men in Grace’s relationships restricts her agency and leads Grace to resist male dominated narratives about her life by engaging in a kind of feminine writing of her own: the creation of a quilt. Chapter Two turns to the creative feminine interrelationships in Ana Historic to argue that Annie Anderson’s reconfigured relationships and life enable her to reject language’s and history’s heteronormative expectations and continual repression. This chapter contends that Annie’s rejection of these expectations propels her into a feminine space outside of the male gaze and demonstrates how interrelationships not only aid women in controlling their own narratives but their sexualities as well. Finally, Chapter Three examines how the feminine interrelationships of reciprocity in In Another Place, Not Here force Brand’s characters to collide with seemingly insurmountable patriarchal and colonial power structures and barriers, such as racism and slavery, while enabling these characters to resist these structures, albeit in drastically dissimilar ways. Through the differing depictions of rejection in Atwood’s, Marlatt’s, and Brand’s novels, this thesis aims to demonstrate how race, sexuality, and class, can change the way feminine interrelationships are displayed in writings in the feminine.
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