A French Feminist Study Of Carol Shields English Literature Essay

This survey is about Carol Shields ‘ most celebrated novel The Stone Diaries. “ This novel ” , harmonizing to Malashri Lal, “ subverts the usual constructs of Western political orientation of truth and world and becomes geographic expeditions of the constructs of literary and familial relationships. It fades out the differentiations between the factual and the inventive ” ( 103 ) . Shields ‘ award winning novel, The Stone Diaries focuses on an ordinary adult female and her journey through life to happen her topographic point. This adult female, Daisy Goodwill Flett, narrates her narrative herself ; so sometimes she stands in the corner and takes the 2nd or 3rd individual narrator point of position or on occasion in the centre and applies the first individual point of position. The uninterrupted displacements between the storytellers can be a presentation of Daisy ‘s rickety internal life. Furthermore, Shields was attentive to the smallest inside informations like the ingredients of a pudding or Daisy ‘s ownerships in the infirmary on her last twenty-four hours. Her usage of punctilious inside informations makes the bases of her genre, diary authorship, unsteady. Daisy ‘s narrative is in the mold of an autobiography ; nevertheless, it finally reflects the fallibility of life authorship. Daisy Goodwill, the storyteller in The Stone Diaries tells us: ” Her autobiography, if such a thing were conceivable, would be, if such a thing were of all time written, an gathering of dark nothingnesss and unbridgeable spreads ” ( 75-6 ) .

Furthermore, Daisy ‘s narrative of eighty-year history of her unrealized life reflects North America alterations in the society and household relationship during the 20th century.

The supporter, Daisy, was born in 1905, on a kitchen floor of a stonemason ‘s bungalow in a little prey town in Manitoba, Canada. The flow of life has swung her a batch: she spent her childhood in Winnipeg under the protection of a sort adult female who had witnessed Daisy ‘s birth and her female parent ‘s decease. As an stripling and a adult female, she spent her life in Bloomington ( another Quarry town ) . She married twice, became a female parent, lost her hubbies ( her first hubby died while he was seeking to open the window for his married woman to take a breath the clean air when they were remaining in a hotel for their honey Moon and the 2nd 1 left her alone out of his serious unwellness ) and attempted to happen a occupation in Ottawa. During these stages, she experienced the functions of a kid, girl, miss, married woman, widow, female parent, nurse, editor, nurseryman, and advisor trusting to happen her echt function in the society. Unable to pull an appropriate decision, she took safety in composing a novel about her ain life narrative and found the restrictions of composing an autobiography. Daisy ‘s life is full of incidents, but at the clip of weaving the strands together to organize a consistent whole, she feels powerless. It sounds as if she were non able to happen some connexions between the occurrences of her life. Carol Shields wrote her autobiography in The Stone Diaries, but unlike her heroine, Daisy, did non experience she led an unrealized life. As Clare Colvin in The Independent newspaper on 18 July 2003 quoted Carol: ” I do n’t experience I ‘ve missed out at all, I ‘ve got my friends, my household, my writing.aˆ¦ I think I ‘ve done reasonably good. ”

II ) Statement of the Problem:

The Stone Diaries, the fanciful autobiography about the black birth of Daisy, her different remote travels, and her assorted single functions as a married woman, female parent, and widow up to her decease, as it foremost seems is based on a series of fiddling inside informations such as her memories, dreams, letters, formulas and many lists. On a higher degree, it concentrates on Daisy ‘s efforts to dispute the disused male regulations of the society, its norms and Torahs, and pillars of genre to uncover the significance of individuality or her definite ego.

Some critics, largely male, detecting merely Daisy ‘s weaving life categorise it as adult females ‘s novels reciting boring narrative of womanly domestic life. Many knock it because of the Frank characters, their seemingly optimistic position of life and the occasional happy stoping, and awfully disregard this novel from literary fictions.

The other group and out of the blue Daisy herself find the other mistakes of this self narrative. They insist on the impossibleness of being able to state a true narrative particularly and paradoxically when the narrative is the storyteller ‘s ain life narrative. As Daisy herself says, any effort to compose person ‘s life narrative will ensue in a narrative that is full of spreads and nothingnesss.

Surviving from the storm of unfavorable judgments and disregarding them, The Stone Diaries concerns itself with personal individuality and ego perceptual experience and dressed ores on domesticity, mundaneness, adult females status, love, matrimony, and household.

Detecting the hints of feminism both in the secret plan of novel and in Carol ‘s ain thoughts affecting female writing, echt female individuality, adult females critical functions in the society, her dependance on a adult female as a supporter and her life incidents as cardinal topics in the novel, the research worker tries to reread The Stone Diaries in the visible radiation of feminism.

In this procedure, replying to the some inquiries may take the reader to important consequences. These inquiries are:

1. What is Shields ‘ attitude toward autobiography and its restrictions?

2. How do gender functions and its inequality determine the orientation of the novel?

3. Where is the lost individuality? Is it possible for a adult female to happen it?

4. What is the consequence of many metropoliss mentioned in the novel?

5. How is “ Female Writing ” observed? How does “ Women Creativity ” drama its function?

6. What are the effects of overlapping storytellers?

III ) Significance of the job:

Contradictory facts have normally interested the readers. So the paradoxes in the life of Carol Shields, reflected in Daisy ‘s narrative, and in separating The Stone Diaries as a award winning novel may pull attending.

Carol ‘s matrimony led her to a new stage as a typical or a domestic adult female. She was interested in this domesticity up to the clip of reading Betty Friedan ‘s The Feminine Mystique in which the soundless defeat of 1000000s of adult females was given voice. Influenced by this book, her purpose was non merely domesticity in her life any longer. She required an indispensable passage from her old ordinary life to open new skylines for herself. Bing a good married woman, female parent and housekeeper, she yearned to make her MA surveies. Then she began composing calling and her chef-d’oeuvre, The Stone Diaries, accomplished the American Pultizer Prize and the Canadian Governor General Award. It is the lone book which has acquired this honor up to the present clip.

The Stone Diaries was celebrated in the universities and academic literary circles and incredibly between common people and brought her author an international celebrity. On the contrary, it was classified as adult females ‘s fiction and its characters as ordinary. This was the beginning of annoyance for Carol and in an interview in The Independent newspaper on Friday, 18 July 2003, she expressed: “ Most novels are about ordinary people. There is a gender bias here. When work forces write about ordinary people they are thought to be elusive and sensitive. When adult females do so, their novels are classified as domestic. ”

Carol ‘s successful turbulence in life and profession reflected in Daisy ‘s life narrative has been and will be an ideal for misss and adult females around the universe. It can function as an waking up factor for hearing their internal voice to resuscitate their everyday lives and do a difference.

IV ) Boundary line:

Carol Shields is known as a fecund author. She has written in different genres such as novel, play, short narrative, poesy and film books. However, her celebrity largely is heightened by her successful novels. Among her different novels, The Stone Diaries is outstanding and has gained The American Pulitzer Prize and Canadian General Governor Reward.

In The Stone Diaries, the history of a Canadian adult female life, Daisy Flett narrates her bewildering pursuit on happening her individuality, function, and contentment through matrimony, maternity and out-of-home calling. In malice of her agonies, she ne’er genuinely understands herself, her narrative and fate.

Carol Shields ‘ women’s rightist thoughts and accent on a female supporter ‘s life ( Daisy ) mirror her general feminist theories. “ Feminism, as a aggregation of societal theories, political motion, and moral doctrines ” refering the release of adult females has been an interesting field for many readers, authors and specially critics. Although it has a long history and in comparing to other literary theories is non a new attack, its general orientation and many-sided supportive attitudes toward adult female surpass clip boundary lines and maintain it up to day of the month ( Seldon 207 ) .

In add-on to its old age, it covers a wide sphere of ideas and includes legion diverse subdivisions. Among these fluctuations the 2nd wave feminist unfavorable judgment, started by the publication of Betty Friedan ‘s The Feminine Mystique and concentrated on adult females ‘s experience and sexual difference, Gallic feminist critical theory, the capable advocator of interrupting down conventional male-constructed forms and Helene Cixous ‘ treatments for a positive representation of muliebrity and her theory ‘ecriture feminine ‘ are really influential in the research. Furthermore, Jacques Lacan ‘s depth psychology, dominant in Gallic feminism and Cixous ‘ theory peculiarly, has an drawn-out application.

V ) Methodology and Approach:

Feminism is a combination of different attacks. Although some attacks like Marxism, Psychoanalysis, and Post structural linguistics, which contribute to feminism are diverse, they portion common premises that investigate the sexual prejudices, literary linguistic communication and subjects revisited in literary plants peculiarly those written by male authors. Through stressing different facets of different attacks, women’s rightists attempt to detect, understand, and specify themselves as true adult females in their ain footings.

Gallic Feminism, one of the latest attacks of feminist surveies, attracts more attending. It is the cardinal portion of 2nd wave feminism originated in France and influenced by Simon de Beauvoir ‘s perceptual experience of adult females as the “ other ” ( Seldon, 222 ) . It deals with two facets: on linguistic communication as the cultivated land in which male-constructed stereotypes are grown and adult females ‘s linguistic communication as the scythe by which these buildings are harvested. “ It has been profoundly influenced by depth psychology, particularly by Lacan ‘s reworking of Freud ” ( Selden, 222 ) .

Among the advocators of this attack, Helene Cixous is an influential figure in this research. She follows Lacan ‘s psychoanalytic paradigm in which “ the kid arrives at a sense of individuality by come ining the ‘symbolic ‘ order of linguistic communication, which is made up of dealingss of similarity and difference ” ( Seldon 224 ) .

She is critical of phallogocentric Western cultural systems and constructions and believes that they are based on the precedence of particular constructs in the set of binary resistances such as “ Activity/passivity, Sun/Moon, Culture/Nature, Day/Night, Father/Mother, aˆ¦ ( Bertens 164 ) , in which the first footings are more important than the 2nd footings ; “ for Cixous, this ceaseless privileging of the masculine, which consequences from what she calls ‘the solidarity of logocentrism and phallocentrism ‘ , amendss us all, female and males likewise, because it curbs the imaginativeness and is hence oppressive in genera ( Bertens 166 ) .

She believes in the differences between work forces ‘s and adult females ‘s unconscious and their sexual, psychological properties. Therefore, she encourages adult females to fall in masculine political orientations and set up their ain 1s. As a consequence, she herself coins the phrase ‘ecriture feminine ‘ to discourse this impression of feminine authorship. She does non see ‘ecriture feminine ‘ the adult females ‘s sole sphere and expects both work forces and adult females to happen it an appropriate field for seeking to better adult females ‘s status in Western society.

Harmonizing to Ian Blyth, “ She distinguishes ecriture feminine from bing signifiers of speech/writing, and in so making she is tie ining feminine composing with bing non-linguistic manners ” ( 44 ) .

With an overall expression, two schemes are really utile in analyzing this novel. These attitudes involve a adult female author and a womanly authorship.

A decennary ago, detecting the status of adult females in the society, a adult female made her head, identified her end, took her pen, held it steadfastly and started composing a narrative about another adult female who could be the representative of adult females non merely in a particular society but all over the universe. These facts make appropriate reading this novel from a female critic ‘s point of position who believes composing is that someplace else that can get away the infernal repeat of the patriarchal system ( Blyth and Sellers ) .

On the other manus, a prevailing spirit is sensed between the writer, supporter and critic. All of them ever challenge the worn out conformances and reject the patriarchal boundaries of Western political orientation. They are seeking a new possibility or a different model to show themselves. They desire an unfastened shutter which is closed on fixed unidimensional masculine discourse. Possibly they want a new linguistic communication with unstable constructs and multiple, unstable significances.

Using both of these sentiments, female and feminine Hagiographas, the survey of hints of Gallic Feminism in The Stone Diaries consists of five chapters. The debut is concerned with the general background, the statement of the job ( statement ) and the definition of cardinal footings mentioned in the research. The 2nd chapter nowadayss an probe through the Gallic Feminist attack and imposed societal concepts particularly on the adult females. In the 3rd and 4th chapters, the novel will be scrutinized within the model of Cixous ‘ theory and the achieved findings of Gallic Feminism will be highlighted. And the last chapter offers the decision.

VI ) Review of Literature:

Hooks in Ai n’t I a adult female: Black Woman and Feminism defines feminism as “ female or male ‘s release from sexist function forms, domination, and subjugation ; therefore it is a motion to get rid of the domination, permeant in Western civilization for the benefits of the whole society ” ( 195 ) .

Christopher Lehman Haupt ‘s necrology of Carol Shields introduces her chronologically and at the same clip describes her plants such as novels, short narratives, verse forms. It expresses the alterations in her positions and life, the crisis she has undertaken and the duties she had to transport on her shoulders, about lonely.

Capturing Fictions and Guilty Repetitions by Emily Carson is a thesis which compares the two manners of writing from non-Western and Western points of positions. It states the two places of the writers in the procedure of authorship, to demo the shared involvement in a storytelling or to show capturing opposition to it.

In The Invisible Woman: Narrative Schemes in The Stone Diaries, Katherine Weese is concentrating on the speech production schemes which are incompatible in the portraiture of Daisy ‘s narrative voice. The author believes that in Carol ‘s novel the narrative has a both/and place instead than either/or.

The author of Fictional Fossils: Life and Death Writing in Carol Shield ‘s The Stone Diaries, tells that the complex relationship between life, decease and text is at the centre of Carol Shields ‘ fictional ( car ) life. The Stone Diaries reflects on the bounds and duties of life authorship, of life going text, and the narrative of her life in her ain voice.

Feminism, Motherhood, Jane Urquhart, Carol Shields, Margaret Laurence, and Me represents Canadian adult females and female parents in the fiction of the Urquhart, shields and Laurence. Each one has created strong maternal narrations in her originative work and commented on both feminism and mothering experiences.

Sidney Hill in her thesis ‘She must compose herself ‘ : Feminist poetics of

deconstruction and lettering ( six Canadian adult females composing ) , analyzes the writer ‘s schemes of deconstructing dominant political orientations from a poststructuralist women’s rightist position. She continues to state that these six authors have used authorship as a

insurgent, unsafe, powerful and a originative act.

Malashri Lal in the book Feminist Spaces: Cultural Readings from India and Canada Tells: ” in The Stone Diaries, Carol Shields undertakes an inventive ‘autobiography ‘ of a adult female. It appears to be a consecutive ‘buildungsroman ‘ but becomes an creative person ‘s hunt for roots and relationships ” ( 100 ) . He continues in the 8th chapter, that “ Feminism sought to rewrite the Western ideological constructs of truth and world and accordingly, jumping versions of world and multiple readings of the universe became possible. Such authorship that came from the borders of gender and societal concepts interpreted and created a world that was in many ways reactionist and inventive ” ( 94 ) .

Contemporary Canadian Women ‘s Fiction: Refiguring Identities by Carol Ann Howells in the 4th chapter named Identities Cut in Freestone: Carol Shield, The Stone Diaries discusses the polar topic of lost individuality of adult females and their efforts to retain it.

Ling Wang in A Comparison of the Narrative Strategies in The Stone Angel and The Stone Diaries focuses on the different agencies of narrative and the effects of them on the development of secret plan.

Marta Dvorak and Manina Jones edited Carol Shields and the Extra_Ordinary. This book introduces some topics related to Shields ‘ manner of composing such as life, archive, short narrative and novel ; furthermore, her beliefs about ( excess ) ordinary universe of misss and Womans are stated.

The other book which may be utile during this procedure is Carol Shield, Narrative Hunger and the Possibilities of Fiction by Dee Goertz and Edward Edeen.

Helene Cixous Live theory includes some interviews with Helene Cixous in which she tells her influences and aspirations, her ideas on authorship and the demand for a new linguistic communication.

VII ) Definition of Key Footings:

A-criture Feminine

A Gallic word which covers Helene Cixous ‘ belief for a positive representation of muliebrity in a discourse. ” It is a famed pronunciamento of adult females ‘s composing which calls for adult females to set their organic structures into their authorship ” ( Seldon 227 ) . It subverts masculine symbolic linguistic communication imposed by the phallocratic system and creates new individualities for adult females.


The traits that constitute what is masculine or what is feminine. They are culturally constructed and were generated by the patriarchal prejudices of Western civilisation.


A term means ruled by the male parent.According to Abrams in A Glossary of Literary Footings Western civilisation is “ male centered and controlled and is organized and conducted in such a manner as to subordinate adult females to work forces in all cultural spheres: familial, spiritual, political, economic, societal, legal, and artistic ” ( 234 ) .


A construct employed by Derrida through deconstruction in which spoken words are privileged over written words. Cixous believes it is hierarchal in nature and insidious in consequence.

Phallogocentric System

This term is combination of Lacan ‘s Phallocentric system and Derrida ‘s Logocentric system. It focuses on “ Derrida ‘s societal construction of address and binary resistance as the centre of mention for linguistic communication, with the phallic being privileged ” and definition of adult females merely by what they lack ( Seldon, 144 )


Cixous ‘ mention to the openness to the other sex is called androgyny.

It is the psychic imprint made when one admits the presence of both sexes in the head, something similar to what Woolf called androgynous head.

Ix ) Tentative Outline:

I ) Introduction

A. General background

B. The Argument

C. Thesis Outline

D. Methodology and Approach

E. Definition of Footings

II. Feminist Theory

A. Second Wave Feminism

B. Gallic Feminism

C. Cixous ‘ ecriture feminine

III. Gender

A. Gender Constructions

B. Gender Inequality

C. Female lost Identities

IV. Genre Disruption

A. Autobiography and its restrictions

B. Ordinary V. Extraordinary

C. Overlapping Narrators

V. Conclusion

A. Summarizing Up

B. Findingss

C. Suggestion for farther readings

VIII ) Bibliography:

1. Bertens, Hans. Literary Theory, The Basics. London: Routledge, 2001.

2. Blyth, Ian and Sellers, Susan. Helene Cixous Live Theory. London, New York: Continuum books, 2004.

3. Carson, Emily Charlotte Pederson. “ Charming Fictions and Guilty Repeats: Writing

Other ( – ) Wise by Calixthe Beyala and Carol Shields ” . Diss. University of Illinois, 2007.

4. Coutler, Myrl Louise. “ Feminism, Motherhood, Jane Urquhart, Carol Shields, Margaret

Laurence and Me ” . Diss. University of Alberta.2007.

5. Dvorak, Mart and Manina Jones, erectile dysfunction. Carol Shields and The Extra-Ordinary. Montreal:

Mc Gill-Queen ‘s Press_ MQUP, 2007.

6. Goertz, Dee and Eden, Edward. Carol Shields, Narrative Hunger and the Possibilities of

Fiction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2003.

7. Hill, Sidney Margaret. ” ‘She must compose herself ‘ : Feminist poetics of deconstruction and

lettering ( six Canadian adult females composing ) ( Daphne Marlatt, Carol Shields, Betsy Warland,

Madeleine Monette, Madeleine Ouellette-Michalska, France Theoret ) . ” Diss. Carleton


8. Hooks, Bell. Ai n’t I a Woman? Black Woman and Feminism. Boston: South End Press,


9. Howells, Carol Ann. Contemporary Canadian Women ‘s Fiction: Refiguring Identities.

England: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.

10. Lal, Malashri. Feminist Spaces: Cultural Readings from India and Canada. India: Allied Publishers, 1997.

11. Lehman _Haupt, Christopher. “ Carol Shields Dies at 68 ; Wrote ‘The Stone Diaries ” :

[ Obituary ( necrology ) ] .New York Times. ( Late Edition ( east Coast ) ) .New York, N.Y: Jul 18,

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12. Seldon, Raman, 3rd erectile dysfunction. A Reader ‘s usher to Contemporary Literary Theory. The University of Kentucky, 1993.

13. Shields Carol. “ The Stone Diaries ” . London: Penguin Books, 1995.

14. Wang, Ling. “ A Comparison of the Narrative Strategies in The Stone Angel and The Stone Diaries. ” China: Harbin Institute of Technology, 1999.

15. Wasmeier, Marie_Lois. “ Fictional Dodos: Life and Death Writing in Carol Shields ‘s

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16. Weese, Katherine. “ The Invisible Woman: Narrative Schemes in The Stone Diaries. ”

Journal of Narrative Theory: JNT. Yp silant: Winter 2006. Vol.36.

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