Decentralization of the Patriarchal Household in The Good Apprentice

Mingying XU


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.


Iris Murdoch; Decentralization; Patriarchal household; The Good Apprentice

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