A glance of Amazonian fierceness point of view as a feminist and mythological tool in Willa Cather's western novels
Liew, Christine Ching Ling, (2006) A glance of Amazonian fierceness point of view as a feminist and mythological tool in Willa Cather's western novels. SARE (Southeast Asian Review of English) (47). pp. 37-59. ISSN 0127-046X
Universiti Sains Malaysia, Centre for Languages and Translation
The eminent American writer Willa Cather was an avid reader and researcher of mythology. She believed that mythology formed the basis of life; that without myths to sustain us, we would not find true meaning in our lives. Mythology was
also important for Cather as it is an acknowledgement of our past and heritage, which we carry as our baggage as we move on in life. However, it is crucial to understand that though Cather values mythology, she is very much aware of its fallibility and capability for biasness. She does not merely stick to the traditional ways in which mythology is propagated in society. On the contrary, Cather dares
to experiment with the whole idea of mythology itself.
There are two aspects of Cather's experimentation that must be taken into account here. Firstly, she uses classical mythology to resist another type of mythology: the mythology of the American frontier as found in the genre of the Western novel. This then leads to the subtle but no less empowering aspect of using existing mythology to create a new kind of mythology. In doing so, she is not erasing the mythology that already exists, but she is providing alternative mythologies for us to consider. Her strong conviction that mythology is a crucial part of humanity is connected with her belief that the mythology and myths that exist today are products of the male consciousness. With that, her experimentation with mythology strives to provide space for mythologies that are of and from the female consciousness to coexist with the ones we have now. As she also believed that myths have the capability to promote universality, thus it is only fair that the female be allowed to voice out other universalities other than the ones proposed by existing myths.
|Keywords:||Willa Cather, Mythology, Western novel, English fiction, History and criticism|
|Subjects:||P Language and Literature|
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