Beth Henley | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 22 pages of analysis & critique of Beth Henley.
This section contains 6,068 words
(approx. 21 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alan Clarke Shepard

SOURCE: “Aborted Rage in Beth Henley's Women,” in Modern Drama, Vol. 36, No. 1, March, 1993, pp. 96-108.

In the following essay, Shepard explores the effects of the feminist movement on the female protagonists of Henley's plays, in particular examining the recurring images of homicide and suicide.

Beth Henley's tragicomedies study the effects of the feminist movement upon a few, mostly proletarian women in rural Mississippi, who are more likely to read Glamour than Cixous and Clement's The Newly Born Woman.1 We are invited to sympathize with isolated heroines whose fantasies demonstrate the difficulty of conceiving female subjectivity while entrenched in patriarchal epistemes, whose resilience is expressed in their canny, survivalist compromises with the codes of passive southern womanhood.2 Their compromises may be precisely located in the recurring imagery of homicide and suicide that pervades Henley's scripts. Take Elain in The Miss Firecracker Contest (1979),3 for example, an aging beauty queen in...

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This section contains 6,068 words
(approx. 21 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Alan Clarke Shepard
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Critical Essay by Alan Clarke Shepard from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.