UNFOLDING LAYERS OF WOMANHOOD: A NOVEL PERSPECTIVE OF ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA

Joyita Shaw, Elham Ghahremani Fard

Abstract


Roald Dahl’s novel Matilda is one of the famous novels on children’s literature of the 20th century. At the first glance, the story may be seen as only for childrenbut delving deeper one can discover that it also concerns women and their present condition in heterosexual society.As it is said that gender is a performance rather thanbiologicalidentity, this paper aims at rereading Matilda from the feminist perspective to uncover the layers of womanhood. Simone de Beauvoir in her seminal text “The Second Sex”aptly writes woman is not born but created as she is trained to take the position of suppressed Other.In this paper, we proposed to critically scan the story in keeping patriarchal construction in mind and how it plays a malicious role in shaping women’s psyche in general. In patriarchal construction, women live always in the margin and struggle to occupy the center.The present educational system also plays a crucial role in making the creature called woman. Patrilineal society always keepsthe woman away from asserting their identity so to perpetuate the male hierarchy.Women instead of cultivating inner qualities waste their time in enhancing their physical beauty. Patriarchy tends to glorify women in terms of their quality of self-negation for the sake of family and children. Patriarchy looks women as fragile, meek and submissive. It never accepts women who seek to go beyond such conventional rules as it isolates them from the mainstream society.Dahl’s novel is definitely of a child;however, it presents some very interesting women characters which also reveal his understanding of women in general. Hence, this paper also examines the novel keeping Dahl’s portrayal of women in mind as a writer of children enacts an important role in shaping the young minds.


Keywords


children’s literature, feminism, women, marginal identity, patriarchy

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References


Beauvoir, Simon De. The Second Sex.Trans. Borde and Sheila Malovany-Chevallier. New York: Vintage Books, 2011. Web 9 March. 2015.

Dahl,Roald. Matilda. London: Jonathan Cape . 1988

Tagore, Rabindranath. tagore azquotes.com.Wind and fly ltd 2017. 21 December 2017

http://www.azquotes.com/quote289769

Wollstonecraft, Mary. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: with Strictureson Political and Moral Subject. 1972. Web 26 June. 2014.


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