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Title: Mothers in two contemporary women's autobiographies : a linguistic study of voice, character and relationship
Author: Veninger, Laurie Rose
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis aims to take a stylistic and narratological approach to the portrayal of . mothers by two contemporary women autobiographers. Through the analysis of linguistic features, the varied "voicing" of mothers in two contemporary women's autobiographies is examined. In Loma Sage's Bad Blood (2001) and Kim Chemin's In My Mother's House (2003, 1983) two very different portrayals ofthe mother "character" reflect the authors' perceptions of their mothers' personalities and expose the issues affecting the mother/daughter relationship. A mother's (or any character's) "voicing" may be achieved through the textual projection of point of view and the characterisation devices of speech and thought presentation, including the use of free indirect discourse, omniscience and a recently recognised phenomenon termed "intermentality". Within fiction it is commonly accepted that authors use these varied stylistic techniques, most especially free indirect discourse and omniscience. This study highlights the fact that autobiographers (and other nonfiction writers) may also use the very same stylistic techniques common to fiction. This apparent anomaly is not frequently addressed by narratologists, but it is my conclusion that these characterisation devices can be exploited for the portrayal of real people as well. In these autobiographies, the mother character appears powerful or meek, a hero or a victim, depending, in part, on the techniques used by the author to "voice" her. This thesis has found that autobiographers capitalize on the same stylistic techniques as writers of fiction to convey complex characterisations and complicated relationships.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available