By Leni Marshall
Deconstructs fiction and nonfiction to additional understandings of the way getting older and outdated age are created.
In energetic, obtainable prose, this booklet expands the succeed in and intensity of age reports. A evaluate of age reports equipment in thought, literature, and perform leads readers to determine how their very own intersectional identities form their ideals approximately age, getting older, and outdated age. This learn asks readers to interrogate the “texts” of menopause, self-help books on getting older, and foundational age stories works. as well as the learn of those nonfiction texts, the poetry and prose of Doris Lessing, Lucille Clifton, and Louise Erdrich function autos for exploring how age kinfolk paintings, together with how they invoke readers into kinships of reciprocal care as othermothers, otherdaughters, and otherelders. The literary chapters research how talented storytellers offer enactments, portrayals, and metaphorical makes use of of age to create transformative power.
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Additional resources for Age Becomes Us: Constructions of Bodies and Gender (SUNY Series in Feminist Criticism and Theory)
The results of both the analyses and the inquiries can generate personal change in critical readers’ beliefs about aging and old age, and thus expand the options in their personal lives, their teaching, and their scholarship. Feminist literary gerontology, suggests Woodward, may move people beyond the ability—simple but crucial—of merely naming their experiences and into a realm in which they are able to narrate their experiences of aging (Woodward, Statistical Panic 80, emphasis in the original).
Simultaneously, the movement away from a position of power suggests the limits of one’s agency and ability to make choices that would return one to power. Since “the question of locating ‘agency’ is usually associated with the viability of the subject” ( J. Butler, Gender 142), then as one becomes less normatively performative, one becomes less viable as a subject. As Butler suggests of lesbian bodies, aged bodies lose “cultural legitimacy and, hence, [are] cast, not outside or prior to culture, but outside cultural legitimacy, still within culture, but culturally ‘out-lawed’” (J.
No wonder that “women in mid-life are afraid to know—and fiercely resist acknowledging—that menopause can affect them” (Sheehy 34, emphasis in the original). People who are skeptical about the value of such a major change, or who think it improbable or unseemly, will find the process more of a challenge, and the dissolution of the old self more of a loss. With the loss of a relatively stable and reasonably cohesive internal self-image, a new self-image is established. Life-changing events that encourage a reformulation of self can create a time of abnegation and refusal, “a time of new development and new beginnings” (Woodward, Statistical 66, citing Stanley Hall), or, for women who have long embraced the possibilities of fluid identity, a time that seems similar to the times before it; and there is a vast field of middle ground in which women embody elements of multiple positions.