Feminist Stylistics in the Essay I Want a Wife

  • Intira Charuchinda Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Phanakhon Rajabhat Univesityุ๋
Keywords: feminist stylistics, Judy (Syfers) Brady, black humour,, subversive satire


Feminist writers use language as an essential part of the struggle for liberation, employing linguistic features to project women’s subordination under patriarchy. A feminist stylistic approach can be used to make our appreciation of language of these writers more subtle and our discussion of stylistics more complete. Judy Syfers’s essay I Want a Wife, reveals the unfair practice of patriarchy. This paper is an attempt to investigate stylistic features in this essay from a discourse analysis perspective and provide a possible interpretation that these features can open to. It finds seven foregrounding textual features that the writer uses to satirize patriarchy while simultaneously producing sardonically humourous effects: 1) use of the pronoun ‘I’ in association with a collective identity in the self-introduction, 2) a shift into a phallologocentric point of view, 3) clausal repetition, 4) words with positive connotations, 5) wordplay, 6) modality, and 7) taboo breaking humour. The operation of these linguistic features constitutes in itself not only a hint of the worldview of the patriarchal structure in which Syfers lived but also an attack on the dominant masculine ideology.


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