Neocolonial Agonistic Feminine Identity in Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs

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Abstract
Messud's The Woman Upstairs as a post-9/11 craft makes use of transnational characters to emphasize the hidden bigotry and hypocrisy in the current age. The dominance of feminine figures in The Woman Upstairs highlights the significance of 'Agonistic feminine identity' in the twenty-first century America that reflects how the interactions among women are socio-politically flavored. Messud’s feminine setting in The Woman Upstairs sketches out Nora as a woman who constructs her life in accordance with the socio-cultural norms her mother and the society promote. Yet women’s friendship that bridges the sociocultural gap between women of the First World and women of the Third World reveals to be a fake friendship that covers the antagonisms. Thus, although multiraciality is constantly represented in Messud’s oeuvre, the tension against the ‘others’ who are to be neocolonially subjugated in the postcolonial America is symbolically represented through Messud's ‘Wonderland’. Decoding the sociocultural behavior of women in the twenty-first century America through Chantal Mouffe’s theory of agonistic pluralism, it can be concluded that a new form of feminine identity, that can be well labeled as 'agonistic feminine identity', is constructed in the twenty first century America due to traumatic events such as the 9/11. Hence, intolerance and revenge that is flooding between the two women of two different worlds is agonistically controlled through the construction of The Woman Upstairs. Messud's The Woman Upstairs as a post-9/11 craft makes use of transnational characters to emphasize the hidden bigotry and hypocrisy in the current age. The dominance of feminine figures in The Woman Upstairs highlights the significance of 'Agonistic feminine identity' in the twenty-first century America that reflects how the interactions among women are socio-politically flavored. Messud’s feminine setting in The Woman Upstairs sketches out Nora as a woman who constructs her life in accordance with the socio-cultural norms her mother and the society promote. Yet women’s friendship that bridges the sociocultural gap between women of the First World and women of the Third World reveals to be a fake friendship that covers the antagonisms. Thus, although multiraciality is constantly represented in Messud’s oeuvre, the tension against the ‘others’ who are to be neocolonially subjugated in the postcolonial America is symbolically represented through Messud's ‘Wonderland’. Decoding the sociocultural behavior of women in the twenty-first century America through Chantal Mouffe’s theory of agonistic pluralism, it can be concluded that a new form of feminine identity, that can be well labeled as 'agonistic feminine identity', is constructed in the twenty first century America due to traumatic events such as the 9/11. Hence, intolerance and revenge that is flooding between the two women of two different worlds is agonistically controlled through the construction of The Woman Upstairs.
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Archival date: 2018-10-25
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