Carnivalization of gender hierarchies and the body in Virginia Woolf’s fiction

Yılmaz, Victoria Bilge
Virginia Woolf is a leading figure in feminist literature and criticism. Woolf’s novels constitute the main channel through which her feminist ideas are expressed. The Voyage Out (1915), To the Lighthouse (1927), Orlando (1928) and Flush (1933) are the novels through which it is possible to see how Woolf sabotages the notions of stability and certainty, on which patriarchal ideology rests. Woolf’s characters wrestle with the so-called domestic sphere in which women are entrapped to serve men, reveal the weaknesses of the patriarchal figures and manifest their flexible subjectivities and gender identities. In this regard, this study contends that these novels lend themselves to a Bakhtinian analysis. The thesis argues that Woolf’s The Voyage Out, To the Lighthouse, Orlando and Flush carnivalize gender hierarchies and the notion of the stable body. The female characters in these novels tend to occupy a space where patriarchal norms are suspended; they obtain power to decrown the authoritarian father figures, and act in ways that transgress gender and sexual boundaries. However, the study also acknowledges that a total carnival sense of the world as conceptualized by Bakhtin is not yet possible in the period of time the novels are located.


Mythmaking in progress: plays by women on female writers and literary characters
Uçar Özbirinci, Pürnur; Çileli, Fatma Meral; Department of English Literature (2007)
This thesis analyzes the process of women’s mythmaking in the plays written by female playwrights. Through writing the lives of female writers and rewriting the literary characters, which have been created by male writers, the women playwrights assume the role of a mythmaker. A mythmaker possesses the power to use the ‘word,’ thereby possesses the power to control ‘reality.’ However, for centuries, women have been debarred from generating their own myths, naming their own experiences, and controlling their ...
Caryl Churchill and gender roles : Owners, Cloud Nıne, Top Girls
Fırat, Serap; Çileli, Fatma Meral; Department of English Literature (2005)
This thesis evaluates Caryl Churchill's criticism of culturally defined roles imposed by patriarchy on both sexes in her three plays Owners, Cloud Nine, and Top Girls by referring to Kate Millet's defination of aspects of patriarchal ideology in Sexual Poitics, and the thesis contends that gender roles are arbitrary. Churchill's attempt to draw attention to patriarchal essentialism is discussed within this framework.
The Construction of female identity in Timberlake Wertenbaker's The Grace of Mary Traverse and The Break of Day
Öztürk, Gülüzar; Çileli, Fatma Meral; Department of Foreign Language Education (2012)
This thesis aims to analyse the construction of female identity from the beginning of the feminist activism in Victorian era whose rationale was formed during the eighteenth century, to the contemporary times in terms of patriarchy and motherhood in Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Grace of Mary Traverse and The Break of Day. This study is conducted with the historical development of the feminist movement that has had different agendas at different periods of history being taken into account. Fighting for women...
Tanrıver, Pınar; Alpan, Başak Zeynep; Department of Political Science and Public Administration (2022-7-18)
This study examines the relationality of the trans-exclusionary radical feminism (TERF) debate, which has become the focus of contemporary feminist literature with intersectional feminism. After the introduction of the term, “TERF” in 2008, the debate on trans-exclusion has flared up and pushed feminist actors into a significant polarisation. At the same time, the trans-exclusionary legal and structural changes made by states, institutions and organisations worldwide caused the gap between the parties to wi...
Ambivalence in Victorian women’s writing: Ellen Wood’s East Lynne, Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s Lady Audley’s Secret, Margaret Oliphant’s Hester
Coşar Çelik, Seda; Yıldız Bağçe, Hülya; İçöz, Nursel; Department of English Literature (2014)
The simultaneous rise of Victorian women’s movement and the dominance of female authorship and readership in the nineteenth century prompted scholars of Victorian literature to interpret women’s novels as fictional examples of Victorian feminism or anti-feminism. Yet, this study stresses the ambivalent nature of women’s fiction by paying attention to the contradiction between the feminist and subversive content in women’s texts and their anti-feminist and disciplinary treatment. Exemplary underread novels f...
Citation Formats
V. B. Yılmaz, “Carnivalization of gender hierarchies and the body in Virginia Woolf’s fiction,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2016.