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Author Hinrichs, Danielle
Title "Writing a war story": American women's writing on the Vietnam War (Mary McCarthy, Le Ly Hayslip, Emily Mann, Jayne Anne Phillips, Bobbie Ann Mason)
book jacket
Descript 193 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-10, Section: A, page: 3806
Adviser: Wendy Martin
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The Claremont Graduate University, 2005
Criticism of Vietnam War literature has often been defined by and confined to combat narratives, the best known examples being written by male veterans of the war. This dissertation explores many genres of women's writing on the war, all of which work from a broad definition of the war story that extends far beyond the realm of combat. The critical focus on the soldier and his weapons too often creates a dominant war narrative that silences all others, and the novels, memoir, correspondence, and play considered in this project are regularly read through a combat lens. In this way, women who write about the effects of war beyond the battleground recede to the margins of literary discussion or become relegated to other literary categories. This study instead calls for critical approaches that seriously consider women characters and their sometimes unconventional but always vital connections to warfare. The inclusion of women's writing in a canon of war literature leads to a more complex understanding of the competing and colliding ideologies, narratives, and histories that remain at the heart of the war and America's attempts to represent it in literature. The dissertation includes analysis of works by Mary McCarthy, Le Ly Hayslip, Emily Mann, Jayne Anne Phillips, and Bobbie Ann Mason. These authors reveal how violence pervades language, conceptions of nature, the body, and everyday life, as well as weaponry and uniforms. By attending to war ideas in foundational cultural places, like language and the ground upon which we stand and live, these authors implicate themselves and all of their readers in the ideas and choices that become a part of war-making. In contrast to the way that trauma theory sharpens the distinction between the soldier and the civilian by returning to veterans' inability to convey through language their traumatic experiences, the writers here favor the necessity and potential of dialogic understanding. This leads to a very self-conscious attention to genre possibilities that emphasize the role of the reader and that incorporate multiple voices and stories in the form of dialogue, juxtaposition, literary and artistic allusions, and epistolary themes and practices
School code: 0047
DDC
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 65-10A
Subject Literature, American
Women's Studies
0591
0453
Alt Author The Claremont Graduate University
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