Daughters of the house: the adolescent girl and the nation

Elleke Boehmer

in Stories of Women

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780719068782
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701898 | DOI:
Daughters of the house: the adolescent girl and the nation

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This chapter examines how three very different post-colonial women writers have written themselves into the national family script, or redrafted the daughter's relationship to the national father. The novels in question are: the expatriate Australian Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children (1940); the Nigerian-born London writer Buchi Emecheta's Destination Biafra (1982); and the American-born Canadian Carol Shields's Unless (2002). The chapter focuses on the daughter's position in the three novels relative to the family, tradition or community, where these structures are in each case figured as analogous to or integrated with the nation, thus approaching the narratives as gender and nationalist theories-in-text. Yet, despite their varying determinations, all three are distinguished by their preoccupation with daughterhood. Towards setting up the comparative frame, the gender roles inscribed within the national family drama can be further elaborated by drawing on Olive Schreiner's The Story of an African Farm (1883) as an interpretative paradigm.

Keywords: women writers; family; daughter; national father; novels; gender; Christina Stead; Carol Shields; Buchi Emecheta; Destination Biafra

Chapter.  9990 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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