A woman writing thinks back through her mothers : an analysis of the language women poets employ through an exploration of poetry about pregnancy and childbirth
Atherton, Carla Maria
This thesis discusses the relationship between the experiences particular to the female body, namely pregnancy and childbirth, and the language employed to voice these experiences. This thesis is set up to reflect the physical cycle of pregnancy and birth. It is divided into three chapters. The first chapter discusses the desire for and the conception of a new use of language, a language equipped to carry the messages, creations, and voices of women. The conception of an expansion of language and the physical conception of a child are paralleled. In this chapter, poetry about wanting to write, wanting to become pregnant, and conception are used as examples of the emergence of the expanded language. In Chapter Two, the incubation of this new language is discussed, its many components and characteristics are described, and the discussion of the possible existence of a women’s language is continued, by again analyzing a selection of poetry written by women. In this chapter, poetry about pregnancy and childbirth are used to exemplify the use of this language. The discussion of the gestation and birth of the expanded language with the physical gestation and birth of a child are paralleled. In Chapter Three, this notion of a women’s language is further discussed, using poetry about new motherhood to demonstrate the effectiveness and existence of new ways to employ our given language. The discussion of what comes after the birth of a new, expanded language is paralleled with the experiences of a mother after the birth of her child. The ultimate conclusion of this thesis is that there is no one language that women do or should employ when writing, but a movement toward writing through the body when writing about the body, about experiences solely experienced by women.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeDowne, Pamela J.; Cooley, Ronald W.; Clark, Hilary; Vargo, Lisa
Copyright DateSeptember 2007
women and language
feminist language theory
feminist body theory
women and body
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