"The Wondering Womb: A Creative Exploration of the Female Mind"
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This dissertation concerns the female experience in the 21st century, with a particular emphasis on the intimate relations between the mind and body. Through a piece of prose fiction accompanied by a critical reflection, I explore how external pressures impact the internal experiences of women today; shaping the perceptions they have of themselves and the constructions of their identity and body. I interweave two narratives of female characters at different stages in their life, in order to compare the anxiety and uncertainty they both feel towards themselves and their situations. The incorporation of surreal dream sequences written in first person allows me to visually parallel and manifest this in a symbolic and experimental manner. The creative piece complements a focus on similar works of literature by authors who present the female experience through challenging and innovative narratives. This includes the work of Virginia Woolf, Monique Wittig and Jeanette Winterson. It follows a young woman about to turn twenty one and an older woman approaching middle age, depicting moments of tension that affect them internally. The final section explores the nature of their relationships with others, before they meet at the conclusion. The critical reflection demonstrates how my fictional piece responds to my research on contemporary feminist texts that engage with issues regarding the female body, particularly Germaine Greer’s The Whole Woman (2007) and Susie Orbach’s Bodies (2010). It also illustrates how psychoanalysis had a bigger impact on my dissertation than originally apprehended, primarily Susan Rowland’s Jung: A Feminist Revision (2002). I reflect upon the construction of my piece; illustrating how my use of writing techniques contributes to its themes and aids the achievement of my intention to make the personal political. My interest lies mainly within Anglo-American feminism, using texts from this area to support how my creative piece reflects a growing admonition that women today should re-establish a more organic, positive connection with their bodies.
Dissertation by Cheryl Thornton for the BA English & Creative Writing course, submitted May 2012.
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