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Women and writing : a comparative study of some texts by Miles Franklin and Higuchi Ichiyo


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Iida, Natsuko 2003 , 'Women and writing : a comparative study of some texts by Miles Franklin and Higuchi Ichiyo', Research Master thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis examines textual comparisons between Miles Franklin (1879-1954) and
Higuchi Ichiyo (1872-96). This is an interdisciplinary project that applies the
methodologies of comparative literature, feminist literary studies, and comparative studies
between Australia and Japan. My methodology depends particularly upon feminist
approaches to modern women's literature and an international tradition of women's
writing. Thus, feminisms such as poststructuralist and postcolonialism are not applied here
because they stress a notion of difference, broadly defined, between women through
arguments based in identity politics. Likewise, differentiating Franklin and Ichiyo's,
Australia and Japan, as the Occident and the Orient is not to my purpose.
Translation is a major medium or resource in comparative literary studies. My
Brilliant Career is available translated into Japanese while some of Ichiyo's texts are
translated by Robert Lyons Danly. However, I study the original texts and quote both in
English and Japanese, avoiding some of the restrictions and cultural reshaping of
In the Introduction, I look into Australia's bush myth and Japan's "ie" system as
Franklin's and Ichiyo's cultural backgrounds. These paradigms, which also operate as
ideologies, are powerfully similar in their significance as invented cultural and national
traditions. In my reading of Franklin's and Ichiyo's respective texts, as both individual
texts and intertexts in each chapter, I focus on commonalities in their concerns about
femininity, sexual politics and gender issues in relation to their cultural and political
The primary focus in my thesis is their shared use of metaphor. I discuss bird/s, in
Chapter two, as a metaphor for women. In My Brilliant Career (1901), My Career Goes
Bung (1946) and Childhood at Brindabella (1963), Franklin's bird imagery signifies
various situations and experiences of the women characters. Ichiyo's bird imagery in the diaries (1912) and Wakarejimo (1892), together with its cultural and social signification,
implies women's suppressed sexuality.
Chapter three investigates images of gardens. In My Brilliant Career and Childhood
at Brindabella, representations of gardens are the symbolisation of femininity and female
power. Images of gardens in Ichiyo's diaries, Yamiyo (1894), Utsusemi (1895) and
Warekara (1896) symbolise not only the women characters' powerlessness but also their
resistance and self-understanding.
My investigation of metaphor reveals Franklin's and Ichiyo's rejection of
patriarchal ideologies and confirms their shared project of speaking for women through
their writings. Thus, these writers participate in an on-going and international tradition of
feminist literature. The particular contribution of this thesis is to make Franklin's and
Ichiyo's shared project visible through comparative literary studies.

Item Type: Thesis - Research Master
Authors/Creators:Iida, Natsuko
Keywords: Franklin, Miles, 1879-1954, Ichiyo, Higuchi, 1872-1896, Women and literature, Feminism and literature, Feminist literary criticism
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
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Additional Information:

Thesis (MA)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 157-184)

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