Theme of Feminism in Brookner’s Literary Works

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Feminism is becoming increasingly important in the modern world and its study is of considerable importance. Hence, this is very valuable for spreading awareness on this topic. in the literary works of which it was possible to clearly consider the trend towards the formation of feminist worldviews, Anita Bruckner, in whose literary works it was possible to clearly consider the trend towards the formation of feminist worldviews. Two literary works that will be analyzed in this scientific work are “Leaving home” and “Undue influence”.

Feminism in “Leaving Home” and “Undue Influence”

First of all, it is necessary to understand that there is such a vision as the struggle for female equality, or in other words, feminism. The main issues that are at the head of this worldview are considered to be that they become inequality and injustice (Delmar 3). These aspirations are formed due to the lack of knowledge on topics such as gender, gender, gender identity, and sexual awareness and are understood through social theories and political activism. Thus, it is necessary to study the country on the subject of delays. Moreover, it has been identified as an attack, which will only contribute to the researcher’s feminist theory. The current aims to explore inequality and inequality at the intersection of abilities, class, gender, race, gender, and sexuality. Henceforth, the feminist movement seeks to achieve changes in areas where these intersections create inequality. in power.

From a Eurocentric viewpoint, a woman is an adult female human being. Female as a human representing the sex that can bear offspring or produce eggs, distinguished biolo0cally by the production of gametes (ova) which can be fertilized by male gametes. Adult is a person who is fully grown or developed. Man is an adult male human being, so a denoting the sex that produces small, typically motile gametes, especially spermatozoa, with which a female may be fertilized or inseminated to produce offspring. It can be interpreted through these comprehensible definitions of such simple words that a male and female are born, each with unique biological functions (DuBois 2). Hence they were given the names “man” and “woman” in order to differentiate the two different types of people with different reproductive organs in the human species.

The irony between these words is that a woman and a man are both adults of the opposite sexes. However, it is not unheard of that the notorious mankind created different expectations within each sex. Based on common sense, it would be inherently looked upon that any adult, no matter their sex, would be able to do well on their own, provide for themselves, do what they desire to achieve in life, and live free without one’s approval or contentment. Unfortunately, it is unsurprisingly enacted in human nature based on the intellectual species of humankind that differentiating the roles between men and women allows for one sex to supersede the other, contributing to the belief that a balance of stability and reform is enacted, enabling the idea that society will be better off to progress further in a precedented well-manner.

This idea then created the spectrum known as gender, assigning specific roles, manners, and notions to what a male and female should each possess. During the mid-twentieth century of the European world, men were thought to be the breadwinners as their biology bestowed them testosterone, allowing for more physical strength than a woman. The preconceived notion of men being the breadwinners caused a lot of men to take advantage of their role as leaders, as many laws of equality were fairly new in Europe. Furthermore, a woman’s role was seen to be a caretaker, as females were thought of to be smaller because of their god-given biology, denoting more passive and nurturing characteristics that were expected of them. Clearly, gender is a construct created by society, but sex did not intend to create gender.

Thus, the feminist movement seeks to achieve changes in several areas of women’s lives at once, in order to reduce inequality between the sexes. Special attention in this struggle is paid to the work sphere, politics, and the social aspect. So, among other things, the most striking threat to female representatives is harassment, physical and sexual violence. Many women for these reasons do not go out alone at a late time of day, which is far from a disappointing statistic. That is why it is necessary to constantly discuss and spread awareness on this topic. Various figures can deal with this aspect, especially in the field of literature, since this industry is relatively popular among some individuals.

These propositions are demonstrated in the renowned novels, Leaving Home and Undue Influence, both written by the award-winning, feministic author Anita Brookner, in which she focuses on the two young women known as Emma Roberts and Claire Pitt. They are both presented to be baffled and conflicted in the approach they were predestined to follow by the patriarchal system in Europe during the mid-twentieth century. The author wrote that “the shame that attached to unmarried women was indelible”, which clearly shows the disturbing state of society (“Leaving Home” 2). Furthermore, the author underlines the unfair faith of women by stating “I wanted her to have had a romantic life before the days when my father’s stick heralded his passage and his heavy body subsided into a chair, the stick propped up by his side” (“Under Influence” 5). Thus, in the mentioned works, the author makes an attempt to direct the reader’s attention to how unfair European society can be in relation to women and their role in it.

Furthermore, the study examined the themes of literary works under the prism of feminist theory. The purpose of this approach is to investigate the inequality in the intersection of the abilities of men and women, as well as a class, and gender. This initiative is of particular importance since they seek to achieve changes in the areas of the sphere of society. However, when introducing feminism into the behavior of life and well-being, it can be met with a negative attitude.

Even as eye-awakening events dawned upon them, they reevaluated their life and who they were as capable young women. Throughout the two novels, the psychological and archetypal literary devices allow for the European protagonists to redefine their womanhood and navigation to the fulfillment of their life. For example, there are gender references to the personal and social characteristics, but not the biological traits that are associated with males and females. Gender is a social construct as mankind developed this establishment. Nevertheless, the effects on the interaction within each gender are indeed very impactful.

As years passed, the structural-functional approach called for human behavior as part of systems that help keep society organized and functioning to its fullest extent. From this perspective, gender is a means of organizing society into distinct roles that complement each other. Many anthropologists have argued that hunter-gatherer societies originated the idea that men are providers and women are housekeepers. Furthermore, men were physically stronger and did not have the demands of childbearing, which made it easier for them to take on more aggressive, autonomous roles, like hunting or warfare. Hence, these roles became institutionalized. This has contributed to a clear delineation of gender rules that are ingrained in modern society. Hence, men are always seen as breadwinners who are engaged in providing food, a place to live and the safety of their family. Women, in turn, were engaged in farming and raised a new generation. This strict distribution has long lost its relevance, but is often raised by some people as an argument in defense of the manifestation of sexist actions.

For a better understanding of the problem studied in the work, it is possible to apply the theory of feminism or feminist theory. The purpose of this approach is to investigate the inequality in the intersection of the abilities of men and women, as well as class and gender. This initiative is of particular importance since they seek to achieve changes in the areas of the sphere of society. However, when introducing the feminist mindset into the behavior of life and well-being. Moreover, this scientific point of view explores how people interact within the social system and works on the formation of strategies to solve confrontation and other problems. It is also necessary to study the feelings of all parties involved in order to build a complete picture of the cause of feminism and sexism as a general phenomenon. On the other hand, it is also worth noting that there is no consensus on where feminist theory stands as a theory or paradigm, the destruction of oppression is the main goal of feminist work. In other words, the theory of feminism deals with the elimination of the manifestation and dominance of sexism in a society where men and women should be equal.

From a young age, boys and girls have been socialized to take on traits that are complementary to each other to make it easier to maintain stable, productive family units.

Boys are taught instrumental qualities, such as confidence and competitiveness, that prepare them for the labor force. Meanwhile, girls are taught expressive qualities such as empathy and sensitivity, which prepare them to care for their families. Parson’s theory was that a successful family needs people to have complementary skill sets, and gender promises a way of pairing these skills. This theory was the most influential during the mid-twentieth century. On the contrary, many feminists debunked Parsons’s theory because the theorist was basing his theory on a division of labor that was specific to the middle class. The white population in the nineteen-forties and fifties. It partakes in the assumption of a heteronormative and Western perspective on what defines a family.

Not all families are nuclear units with one father as the breadwinner, the mother as the caretaker, and the dutiful children. The definition of family can also include single parents, childless families, etc. This is seen in Leaving Home, in which Emma Roberts is a twenty-six-year-old woman who grew up with a widowed mom and distant uncle (“Leaving Home” 25). Eventually, her mom passes away unexpectedly, leaving Emma to be an adult with no close person to confide in. Similarly, Undue Influence showcases a woman of similar age to Emma, who is in a lonely state as she has no close and trusted people to belong to.

The second reason why Emma Roberts and Claire Pitt do not conform to Parson’s Theory is that these two ignore the personal and social costs of maintaining gender roles. It is argued upon the idea that it is quite arbitrary for the European men to need to be the ones working outside their so-called “home” in order to maintain family stability because it reinforces gender dynamics that give men power over women. This then creates a problem of men taking advantage of the designed structural system of gender, causing demeanors against certain actions that women do (Black 45). It is shown that in Undue Influence, Claire Pitt is on a path of finding the truth about a peculiar, impeccable man called Martin Gibson. However, Martin Gibson symbolizes a lack of empathy and modesty for a man. He is described as Olympus, an archetype depicting the god of fertility for his multiple affairs, just like Martin Gibson, but he is also the lord of the sky, thunder, and rain because he brings out the worst in people, or he is the cause of this negative type of emotion that is aroused in the characters.

Claire Pitt describes Martin Gibson to be as “…not a whole human being. A man who was quite not a man.” (Brookner 150). During these times, it would be frowned upon for a woman who was not quite a woman. However, the stigma of not being womanly was greatly presented in Leaving Home. Francoise Desnoyers, otherwise known as a very vulgar, provocative, and liberated woman, befriended Emma Roberts for her cool, calm, and collective nature because it contrasts well with her unsettling behavior. Or, at most, she befriended Emma in order to finally please her articulate mother, Desnoyers, to once be fond of her daughter to befriend a woman that her mom had always wished her to be.


Therefore, the study examined the themes of literary works under the prism of feminist theory. The purpose of this approach is to investigate the inequality in the intersection of the abilities of men and women, as well as a class, gender. This initiative is of particular importance, since they seek to achieve changes in the areas of the sphere of society. However, when introducing feminist concept into the behavior of life and well-being it is important to have an awareness on the topic.

Works Cited

Black, Naomi. Social Feminism. Cornell University Press, 2019.

Brookner, Anita. Leaving Home. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007.

Undue Influence. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2001.

Delmar, Rosalind. What is Feminism?. Theorizing Feminism. Routledge, 2018. pp. 5-28.

DuBois, Ellen Carol. “Feminism and suffrage.” Feminism and Suffrage. Cornell University Press, 2019.