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The Idea Of Androcentrism English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1059 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Androcentrism refers to the nature of, conscious or not, of putting male human beings at the central view of one’s thought so the universe and the cultures including history. Gynocentrism is the opposite of androcentrism.

At the beginning, Schweickart notes that the issue of race, sex and class are overlooked by differing accounts of the reading experience (529). She is a feminist who is interested in the question, on the difference brought about by the fact that the reader is a woman (529). The criticism on reader response mainly puts its focus on the two questions: the first is whether the controls the reader or vice versa (529) and what the text contains (539). The two questions refer to the subject-object relation that comes up between reader and text (539).

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The writer then talks about a difference between the feminist critique and gynocriticism put forward by Showalter. She states that the feminist critique is, “counter-ideological in intent and concerned with the feminist as a reader” (530). Schweickart argues that if “it is possible to formulate a basic conceptual framework for disclosing the ‘difference’ of women’s writing, surely it is no less possible to do so for women’s reading” (531). The major question for majority of critics is the meaning of when a woman expresses herself in writing. How does a woman write as a woman?” (541). Schweickart goes on to say that feminist critiques should also look at the correlative process of reading: by looking at what it means for a woman to read through a text without criticizing herself to somebody else’s position and what it means, for a woman being herself or else a woman while she reads to go through a piece of literature written by a woman who has written as a woman (541).

Her point is not mainly on the difference between women writers and readers but on the process through which women read works written by both men and women writers. Her argument is that reader-response theorists both reject any belief in critical objectiviy. She believes that it is “but from a small step from the thesis that the reader is an active producer of meaning to the recognition that there are many different kinds of readers” (531). She writes that believes that feminist criticism is a political thing with the goal of not only being able to understand literature but to bring a change to the world through the understanding.

In the case of feminist reading of male-authored texts, the female reader will link how she reads to what she reads because of androcentric literary canon which has a damaging effect on women readers. Androcentric literature makes the experience of reading different depending on whether the reader is male or female. The effect of the canon on men is to create a sense of affinity with the typical human being while the effect on women is to implant something similar to schizophrenia. In simpler terms, feminist readers of text written by men are primarily resisting readers. Reading of texts written by male authors is similar to class welfare.

In the case of feminist reading of women-authored texts, Scheickart starts by putting a caution against applying androcentric critical strategies to texts written by women. Her argument is that if feminist readings of reading of male-authored texts are provoked by the requirement to interrupt the immasculation process, feminist reading of text authored by female are provoked by the requirement to connect to recuperate or to come up with the context, custom, which would link women writers together, to women readers and critics and to the entire community of readers at large.

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In Butler’s writing, Lauren is introduced with her family in a walled neighborhood. As the story goes on, we get to know about the people to a point that we care about them when bad things happen and they die. The cast picks on new people as it looses others and the reader is left without uncertain on whether a character is there to survive or is just passing through. It is delicate and allows the reader share some uncertainty. The world that the writer writes about is dangerous. Helping someone is not a good idea always but one is forced to do so sometimes. Gender is a major issue although it does not control life completely. The world in the Parable of the Sower feels real and complex. There is no war or plague, but things get worse day after day. There is no civilization as it collapses due to its rottenness. The novel does not talk about disaster but of a teenager then a woman who saw things getting worse and got ready and eventually survived.

We can say that Butler undermines the idea of androcentrism through her story where the main focus is of the world is not on men but on a single girl who eventually becomes a woman in a world filled with both men and women. This world is full of problems and people, both men and women die everyday. The woman in the story is portrayed as prepared to tackle this world which is getting worse everyday. Normally, stories would tell of a male or a family lend by a man and how the family managed to survive any hardships under the leadership of a man. Butler’s story is different as she portrays the teenager Lauren Olamina as she goes through the struggles of the world to survive in a world that has failed in civilization and form a new religion which talks about her belief on God as change.

Olamina’s brother runs away to live as a robber and a drug dealer. He ends up dead. Olamina is able to feel the pain of the people around her she therefore learns to be tough. She plans to runs to the North with her boyfriend. Her society is attacked and destroyed and she heads north accompanied by other teenagers. An earthquake adds to their problems. The people are impressed by her caring and they eventually find a new community where they settle and live according to Olamina’s philosophy. This is the way that the idea of androcentrism is criticized by the author to the story. In the new community, it is said that the new community lives according to Olamina’s philosophy. This is not a usual thing as almost all communities live according to a man’s or to men’s philosophies.


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