Decentralization of the Patriarchal Household in The Good Apprentice

Mingying XU

Abstract


This paper focuses on the reconstruction of female selfhood through Murdoch’s elaboration of the multiple ways that the women use to integrate their female self by decentralizing the patriarchal household. According to her philosophical view on the misuse of power regardless of gender, Murdoch illustrates women’s frailties in the example of Mother May in The Good Apprentice, who becomes a power figure in her family taking the advantage of her husband’s decaying health. It illustrates Murdoch’s philosophical opinion that the woman, as the winner in the fight against the gender inequality and patriarchal oppression in the family, is likely to continue the male dominance instead of liberating herself from the male supremacy and attaining the perfect life. In conclusion, that’s not the real victory over the male oppression but a continuation of male domination in disguise since it brings no benefits to increase women’s happiness and change their lives.

Keywords


Iris Murdoch; Decentralization; Patriarchal household; The Good Apprentice

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References


Bloom, Harold. (1986). Iris Murdoch: modern criticism views. New York: Chelsea House.

Cohan, Steven. (1982). From subtext to dream: the brutal egoism of Iris Murdoch’s male narrator. Women and Literature, (2), 222-242.

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Khogeer, Afaf Jamil. (2005). The integration of the self: Women in the fiction of Iris Murdoch and Margaret Drabble. New York: University Press of America.

Murdoch, Iris. (2001). The good apprentice. New York: Penguin Books.

Rowe, Margaret Moan. (2004). Iris Murdoch and the case of “Too Many Men”. Studies in the Novel, (1), 79-94.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2F4691

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