Die ?asexuelle Witwe? im Identitätskonflikt am Beispiel von Arthur Schnitzlers ?Frau Berta Garlan? und ?Frau Beate und ihr Sohn?
To examine the gender?types that the protagonists reflect in the search for their identity, I will undertake an intratextual analysis of the text, based on the central premises of Michel Foucault's discourse analysis and Judith Butler's analysis of gender as construct. Within this constructivist paradigm of gender and identity, I will undertake a textual analysis of character representation to demonstrate how identity is formed within the constraints of hegemonic discourses, and how resistance against these preformed modes of identity is predicated by fixed notions of social norms.
The texts focus on the lives of the two female protagonists. Both are widowed and fail to break out of the constraints forced upon them by society. With the awakening of their sexual desire, they are caught in an identity crisis, their desires standing at odds with the asexual identity they must assume as widows. In their attempt to combine their sexual desires with their desire to remain respectable in the eyes of society, the widows eventually fail since normative discourses of gender identity do not allow for alternative identities. Although the texts demonstrate the impossibility of living identities that contravene the central tenets of social norm, that the individual is not free to fashion its own identity, Schnitzler's texts also debunk the myth of a natural gender identity and subvert its fatalistic message by demonstrating clearly the constructed character of gender almost a century before the advent of poststructuralist gender?theory.
School:University of Waterloo
School Location:Canada - Ontario
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:german studies arthur schnitzler frau berta garlan beate und ihr sohn witwe
Date of Publication:01/01/2006