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Information Sciences Letters

Information Sciences Letters

Abstract

This article joins a vibrant conversation in American literary studies about the contribution of female playwrights to dramaturgy as well as the feminist movement in the early twentieth century. In addition to assessing their contribution to American drama, the article extends the discussion to study how these female dramatists reflected the status of women in contemporary societies. We argue that the selected works of Susan Glaspell’s Trifles (1916) and Bernice (1917), Lorraine Hansberrys A Raisin in the Sun (1959), and Rachel Crothers’ A Mans World (1910) reveal a process, a transformation, a theatrical presentation of the development of female awareness about the self, the masculine, and the community. The analysis of these plays reveals recurrent patterns of resistance and recreation that witness the development and advancement of American feminism into three stages – namely, resisting masculine exclusionist ideologies through instinctual, unintellectual means, recreating and maneuvering self-actualization while compromising agency, and adopting social activism to expose the private oppression of women. The analysis of these plays shows that these patterns are not just recurrent and repetitive; it also shows the response to these patterns as productively evolving. These examples of drama show the progress of American theater in general and connect the discussion to larger cultural perspectives about American feminism.

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