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PROJECT TOPIC: SUBVERSION OF PATRIARCHAL BINARY OPPOSITION IN ALICE WALKER’S THE COLOR PURPLE AND KATE CHOPIN’S THE AWAKENING

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CHAPTER ONE

 INTRODUCTION

1.1       BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Most societies, whether developed or on the verge of development are distinguished by some magnitude of male dominance. Invariably, patriarchy is embedded in the fabric of most cultures. Throughout history, men have had greater power in both the public and private spheres. To maintain this power, men have created boundaries and limitations for women thereby making it more difficult for women to clasp power. The results of male domination have been to create a subordinated class-women who, despite their individual circumstances, abilities, and opportunities are inescapably victimized by male supremacy. Over time, women have been economically exploited, relegated to domestic slavery, forced into motherhood, sexually objectified, physically abused, used in denigrating entertainment, deprived of a voice and authentic culture, and disenfranchised and excluded from public life. Women, by comparison, have systematically been subjected to physical insecurity, targeted for sexual denigration and violence, depersonalized and denigrated, deprived of respect, credibility, and resources and silenced, denied of public presence, voice and representation of their interests. (Mackinnon 160)

Judith Butler in Gender Trouble submits that patriarchy arises as a result of the binary opposition between masculine and feminine gender:

The binary relation between culture (male) and nature (female) promotes a relationship of hierarchy in which culture freely “imposes” meaning on nature, and, hence, renders it into an “other” to be appropriated to its own limitless uses, safeguarding the ideality of the signifier and the structure of signification on the model of domination.


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