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Gender Performativity: A Feminist Reading of Life after Life by Kate Atkinson

Mojgan Abshavi, Maryam Ghanbarpour
Published August 2019

Abstract

This study tried to read the novel of Life After Life by Kate Atkinson from a feminist Standpoint. The study found that Life after Life depicts various attempts by female ''subjects'' to grow up and learn to live up to the expectations of a suppressed gender that aims to be given a status equal to that of the dominant male. For this purpose, the concept of "gender performativity" as introduced by the American critic, Judith Butler, was applied to several experiences of female characters during the World War II. It became clear that these women were attempting to exert their own free will toward getting over the obstacles imposed on them by the imperatives of a male-dominated society and perform jobs and activities in wartime British society that would earn them prestige and respect equal to their male colleagues.

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