Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis examines English Canadian novels written by women during the 1970' s in order to explore a possible feminist tradition in English Canadian fiction as well as to seek out a possible correspondence between the· political themes of the Women's Movement and the representation of women in novels. There is a premise that women as writers bring different perceptions and expectations to their literary experience. This literary representation of gender difference is rooted in women's experience of oppression and the role women have played in the family structure. The result is a distinct representation of women by women in fiction that differs from the more traditional social image.
The sociology of literature is employed to construct a theoretical framework around the question of whether or not literature reflects society. The hypothesis is that a counter-traditi6n concerning the representation of women appears in the fiction written by women, and thus the social norms and values of society have not in fact been reflected in the novels studied.
The role of the themes raised by the Canadian Women's Movement in the seventies and their contribution to a counter-ideology which challenges gender ideology, are examined to support the hypothesis. Any correspondence between the themes of the Women's Movement and the novels would point to a possible impact that the counter-ideology of the movement may have had upon women and their own self- image as portrayed by their fiction.
This study concludes, that, despite even the most notable exceptions, there is a distinct gender difference in the writing of fiction as it pertains to the representation of women. The themes of both the Women's Movement and the literature written by women all point to a unity of values, experiences and behaviors that women share and are subsequently represented in their fiction.
Frank, Linda Susan, "'Bird at the Window': The Representation of Women in Canadian Fiction" (1985). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7120.
McMaster University Library