The Construction of Female Subject Identity in The Grapes of Wrath

Limin WU


The description of those females in The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck is very impressive, among whom Ma Joad is depicted in such a way as one of the most important figures for the whole story. Though sharing some similarities with the traditional women in the past English novels, Ma Joad is very different. The close connection with as well as differences from the traditional gender role pattern are combined in this woman. It is just through the newly-opened window of differentiation that the reader can reconsider females and construct a new female identity. Mainly from an ecofeminist angle, the paper is going to study the consistency to and differences from the traditional gender roles of women exhibited in the novel, expound on the changing subject identity of women throughout the novel, in order to prove that female subject identity in the novel is beyond essentialism and dualism.


The Grapes of Wrath; Traditional gender roles; Female subject identity; Ecological consciousness

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