In her magnum opus Milkman (2018), Anna Burns employs a subversive and artfully crafted first-person narrative, deftly exposing the arduous and tumultuous struggles encountered by individuals who dare to defy the confines of traditional gender roles. Through a relentless and unflinching narrative, the novel fearlessly confronts the harrowing manifestations of psychological torment, the insidious spectre of relentless stalking, and the manipulative machinations of gaslighting, all the while fervently interrogating the notion of a fixed and immutable gender identity. In a relentless odyssey toward self-realization, the protagonist's journey unfurls against a backdrop of traumatic events and the unyielding pressures imposed by society. The protagonist's plight is a reflection of wider societal injustices as well as the community's refusal to acknowledge stalking as a form of sexual harassment and its lasting impact on individuals. Exploring the themes of sexual harassment, victim-blaming, and himpathy through the lens of Feminist Phenomenology, the paper also examines the novel's portrayal of surveillance, biopower, and the deeply ingrained binary divisions that shape and constrain our societal fabric. By disentangling these themes, the narrative emerges as a critique of conformity, injustice, and the erasure of individual identity. The paper concludes that the first-person narrative in Milkman serves as a powerful conduit for revealing subjective experiences, challenging societal norms, and promoting a deeper understanding of gendered lived experiences.
ROUTRAY, SUSHREE and Gaur, Rashmi Professor
"Feminist Phenomenology and First-Person Narrative: Understanding Gender and Social Conflict in Anna Burns’ Milkman,"
Comparative Woman: Vol. 2:
2, Article 3.
Available at: https://repository.lsu.edu/comparativewoman/vol2/iss2/3
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