Modernism Womanhood And Femininity Essay

3447 words - 14 pages

To what extent does modernist and/or postmodernist literature and/or film confirm or question the dominant ideologies of womanhood and femininity? How does it do this?

Postmodernism is the reaction of the development of the modernism movement, it consists after the modernism movement from a literal point of view. Postmodernism can be defined by a set of perspectives which are mainly used as a critical point of view in such works as literature, drama and cinema to name but a few. One of the dominant perspectives to postmodernism is feminism; many argue that the representation of women and femininity isn’t represented in a positive manner in things such as literature and cinema. This can ...view middle of the document...

Certain behaviours considered to be feminine are factors such as kindness, patience, maternal and emotional; these are only a selection of the behaviours which are believed to be feminine.
The hours is a cinematic production which depicts a day in the life of three women; the film has a simultaneous introduction to the characters; the first characters that we are introduced to are what we can assume are the men of the household, the dominant character in the family, these character introductions are then followed by their partners, i.e. wives. Immediately the film seems to be patriarchal as the viewer would think the film is about the initial characters introduced, being the male authoritative figures. All three women are each awoken by a sense of timing such as clock chimes, bells or an alarm clock, this representation of time is a patriarchal form of control, they are being forced to awake and tend to their daily lives.
Virginia, Laura and Clarissa are all individual women, they lead totally different lives, playing various roles in the household and within the society they live in. 1923 sees Virginia living with her husband Leonard in what seems like a comfortable lifestyle. In these times it was extremely common to have patriarchal households in which the husband worked whilst the wife attended to the home and the family well-being, however this is not the case, it soon becomes apparent to the viewer Virginia is being looked after, witnessing the immense concern Leonard has for her when he asks whether she has eaten leading him to fix a lunch date with her like “husband and wife sitting down together” (Daldry, 2002, 9mins)
Virginia’s state of mind opens up when her sister Vanessa visits with her children. During scene ten, Virginia is seen describing to her niece the difference between a male and female bird, alongside answering the inquisitive question asked by the young girl of what happens when people die, her knowledge of such is more than what a woman should know as science is seen to be a masculine forte. She also glares oddly at the dying bird at which point a flicker of light is seen in the birds eye, symbolising the little life Virginia feels she has left in her. She somewhat envies the lifestyle her sister leads as she makes it clear she misses the busy life alongside the rustle and bustle of everyday London, explaining why she asks her sister whether it is clear she has made progress with her illness as she does not want to let her go without knowing one day she can go back too; she is being held back and controlled leading her to feeling imprisoned, which is evident when Leonard panics after she sneaks out of the house.
Virginia feels suffocated as she is being told what to do by her husband and the doctors, her yearning to go back to London is due to her wanting more of a say in her life, for once she wants to make a choice, thus relating to the notion of equality. Any sense of Leonard having a patriarchal role in...

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