Lily Chen

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Chesler, S. Alan

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Theatre Arts


Fornes; Maria Irene--Criticism and interpretation; Norman; Marsha--Criticism and interpretation; Violence in literature; Women dramatists; American; Women in literature


In this study, male violence against women as well as female violence will be investigated to explore the female characters in the works of Marsha Norman and of Maria Irene Fornes, two of the most distinguished contemporary American women playwrights. The plays analyzed are: Getting Out and 'night. Mother by Norman, Fefu and Her Friends and The Conduct of Life by Fornes. Male violence against women, one of the major issues among feminists, is interpreted as a form of structural violence, which refers to the organized institutional and structural patterning of the family and the economic, cultural and political systems that determine that some individuals shall be victimized and be rendered more vulnerable to suffering and death than others. Male violence in the plays takes its form in physical, verbal, sexual and psychological abuses. In response to their oppression in a patriarchal society, the female characters turn to violence. The present work includes the concept of violence, the playwrights' responses to the issue and the analyses of their plays. Through this research, a further understanding of the violent aspect in female writing and of women's status in an oppressive male culture is hoped to be achieved.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [92]-95)


vi, 95 pages




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