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ERIC Number: ED371354
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Elizabeth Cary and the Social Construction of Female Subjectivity.
Merrill, Yvonne
As the development of an individual's identity may be linked to the opportunity to write or to construct knowledge through participation in social dialogue, women historically have lacked self awareness. The 17th century British writer Elizabeth Cary illustrates the rhetorical difficulties that women face in appropriating dominant discourses to confront constructions of female identity and restrictions on their speech. "The Tragedie of Miriam" and "History of the Life, Reign, and Death of Edward II" reveal their author's conflicted personality. Cary is torn between her need to acknowledge Catholic cosmology (a fundamental order conceived of and promulgated by men) and her own attempt to recognize the constructedness of this order. She is further torn between the domestic identity that her culture has assigned to her and the identity she has constructed for herself, that of author and recusant; her socially mandated role as silent and obedient wife represses her need to write and profess her faith. Such dualities take the following manifestations in her texts: (1) her texts externalize a repressed sense of self; (2) she can use only covert rhetorical strategies to confront the powerful social authorities pitted against her; (3) her metadiscourse reveals her subservient female voice. Her texts finally remain ambivalent about the ability of women to respond to the social constructions of women; and they demonstrate a lack of confidence in the authority of female speech and knowledge. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A