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Radical Philosophy Today

Volume 3, 2006

Liberation between Selves, Sexualities, and War

Brenda Bethman
Pages 45-64
DOI: 10.5840/radphiltoday200631

Housewife or Shopgirl? Alienation in Elfriede Jelinek’s women as lovers

Rather than choose between competing theories of alienation, whether Marxist, feminist, or psychoanalytic, this chapter argues that each theory has its value for a critical understanding of Jelinek’s literary work. At the level of the “signified or plot,” the author finds that Marxist theories of alienation through labor, and feminist theories of alienation in patriarchy, are both helpful frameworks for exploring the situations represented in the novel. In addition, at the level of “signifier or language,” the author shows how Jelinek’s use of metonymy also works to subvert customary expectations of a romance formula.

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