NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED385842
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1995-Mar
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Pronominal Outlaws.
Allen, Julie
While rhetoric is conventionally associated with argumentation and discussions of discrete language forms (such as pronouns) which are usually housed in lingustics, clearly there are forms of rhetoric that are not obviously propositional. Moreover, sometimes very small language units can be deployed to great persuasive effect. Muriel Rukeyser's rewriting of the Oedipus myth is evidence of such an effect. When Oedipus, old and blind, asks the Sphinx why he did not recognize his own mother, the Sphinx explains that when he asked, "What walks on four legs in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?" Oedipus answered "Man.""You didn't say anything about woman," the Sphinx explains. When Oedipus protests that "everybody knows" that "Man" designates both genders, the Sphinx answers, "That's what you think." By means of a strategic disruption of the conventional use of generic "man," Rukeyser is engaging in rhetoric, trying to persuade readers to abandon reified notions of gender and subjectivity. Analyses of Virginia Woolf's "Orlando," Marge Piercy's "Woman on the Edge of Time," Jeanette Winterson's "Written on the Body," and June Arnold's "The Cook and the Carpenter" show how some women authors intentionally confuse their readers about the gender pronouns in their book in an attempt to raise significant issues about gender. (Contains 14 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A