Quest for Self-Identity in Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing and The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath

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As the post-colonial criticism developed, the theorists have agreed upon the fact that the role of feminism in the post-colonial practice is crucial. Moreover, these two theories clearly have the same goals. On the one hand, the main objective of both of them is to disclose the traditional power structures, both patriarchal and imperial. On the other hand, both feminism and post-colonial criticism aim to show the way the writers challenge the respective forms of authority. The main concerns of the post-colonial criticism are the formation of canon, the phases through which imperialism and decolonization have gone, as well as how these processes are expressed in literature. What is more, the criticism is also concerned with the ways of resistance within literary pieces, such as rewritings of traditional concepts and creating voices that stand in opposition. All these issues become the matrix and concern of feminist criticism. Not the least, crucial to feminism is also pointing at the notion of diversity. For many women, the process of writing is an expression of themselves, it allows them to “throw off their chains” and to struggle for more autonomy.

The twentieth century has given rise to women’s efforts to fight for their rights in the Western world. In the forties, they were relatively emancipated, since they perceived the encouragements to enter the workplace. There, they could enjoy a relative independence and they felt responsible. They proved that they can be “effectual workers”, but when the World War II was over, they had to face new requirements: they had to give up the jobs to the males coming back from the war (“Feminism”). They were and felt misplaced, everyone expected them to take care of their homeplace instead. ...

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