Comparative discourse analyses of gender constructions in the novels of Robert Heinlein, Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ and Samuel Delany

Akçeşme, İfakat Banu
This dissertation examines the gendered discourses in the novels of the writers of different sexes/genders, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Joanna Russ’ The Female Man and Samuel Delany`s Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. This study investigates how writers linguistically construct their characters as gendered/sexed beings as an effect of certain identity politics, ideologies and power structures. In order to do so, critical discourse analysis is applied to the passages chosen from different parts of the novels under consideration. Moreover, Butler’s performativity theory of gender and Foucault’s theory of discourse/power/knowledge and his conceptualization of subjectivity are employed in the discursive analyses of the novels. The argument of the study is that there is a close relationship between discourse, ideology and the constitution/representation of gender/sex as contingent on a particular socio-cultural and historical context. This study is based on Butler`s assertion that gender is a doing, a performance, and it is a cultural and ideological construct. Thus, the study shows that writers’ linguistic choices for the constructions and descriptions of their characters are not ideologically or politically innocent but imbued with socio-cultural and ideological meanings.


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Citation Formats
İ. B. Akçeşme, “Comparative discourse analyses of gender constructions in the novels of Robert Heinlein, Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ and Samuel Delany,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2010.