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Feminism in William Gibson’s Neuromancer

Feminism in Neuromancer

Neuromancer is an amazingly complex novel. Being one of the first of its kind, Gibson tells a chilling tale of a world where computers, and a thing called ” the matrix,” become more “real” than reality. The story, set in the not-so-distant future, has our hero, Henry Dorsett Case, embarking on an adventure that stretches the limits of the reader’s imagination. But even though Case is our main character, there are others with as much or more power and influence. Women play a significant role in aiding Case throughout his mission. Not only are they noteworthy, they hold most of the “power” and at the end, it is a woman who holds the final “key.” By using the feminist approach to literary criticism, we can explore these female characters to find out how they contribute to the overall plot.

Feminist literary criticism looks at how literary works portray women. They look to see if there is any social power exerted by females. Feminists also see our culture as a “patriarchal society organized in favor of the interest of men.” (HCA…

Portrait of a Victim in Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

Portrait of a Victim: Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye

The Bluest Eye (1970) is the novel that launched Toni Morrison into the spotlight as a talented African-American writer and social critic. Morrison herself says “It would be a mistake to assume that writers are disconnected from social issues” (Leflore). Because Morrison is more willing than most authors to discuss meaning in her books, a genetic approach is very relevant. To be truly effective, though, the genetic approach must be combined with a formal approach. The formal approach allows the unpacking of the rich language, imagery, and metaphors of Morrison’s writing, and the genetic places it in the larger context of her social consciousness.

In The Bluest Eye, Morrison’s uses her critical eye to reveal to the reader the evil that is caused by a society that is indoctrinated by the inherent goodness and beauty of whiteness and the ugliness of blackness. In an interview with Milwaukee Journal staff writer Fannie Leflore, Morrison said that she “confronted and critiqued the devastation of racial images” in The Bluest Eye.

The narrative structure of The Bluest Eye is important in revealing just how pervasive and destructive the “racialization” (Morrison’s term for the racism that is a part of every person’s socialization) is (Leflore). Morrison is particularly concerned about the narration in her novels. She says, “People crave narration . . . That’s the way they learn things” (Bakerman 58). Narration in The Bluest Eye comes from several sources. Much of the narration comes from Claudia MacTeer as a nine year old child, but Morrison also gives the reader the benefit of Claudia reflecting on the story as an adult, some first person narration from Pecola’s mother, and narration by Morrison herself as an omniscient narrator. Morrison says, “First I wrote it [the section in The Bluest Eye about Pecola’s mother] out as an ‘I’ story, but it didn’t work . . . Then I wrote it out as a ‘she’ story, and that didn’t work . . . It was me, the author, sort of omnipotent, talking” (Bakerman 59). Morrison intentionally kept Pecola from any first person narration of the story. Morrison wanted to “try to show a little girl as a total and complete victim of whatever was around her,” and she needed the distance and innocence of Claudia’s narration to do that (Stepto 479).

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