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Autobiographical Portrait of Subversion of the Normative Gender Identity In Wangari Maathai’s Unbowed

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dc.contributor.author ODHACHA, Pamela Ng’ong’a
dc.date.accessioned 2021-06-30T09:10:33Z
dc.date.available 2021-06-30T09:10:33Z
dc.date.issued 2021
dc.identifier.uri https://repository.maseno.ac.ke/handle/123456789/4065
dc.description.abstract Subversive literature is a powerful tool in a rebel‘s arsenal throughout literary history of mankind. Many scholars concur that autobiographies by women indicate their struggle for equality playing field in all spheres of development. Related studies designate the society as biased against women, a phenomenon that entrenches marginalization and some male authors have used the momentum in portraying female characters in a manner that ingrains the spectacle further. On the other hand, autobiography has been used by the marginalized to wage social campaigns aimed at their inclusion as the sub-genre accords the writer space to tell the story of one‘s own life from a more intimate perspective especially for women writers. Wangari Maathai is one such writer. The purpose of this study is to show how Maathai participates in the scheme of subversion in her autobiography. The objectives of this study were to: explore a self-portrait that subverts normative gender identity in Maathai‘s Unbowed, interrogate the extent to which the emergent portrait of a subverted normative gender identity challenges power relations in Maathai‘s Unbowed and analyse the effectiveness of the autobiographical form in concretizing the subverted portrait. The study used the theoretical framework derived from New Historicism by Greenblatt (1980) and the Gender theory by Bem (1980) whose main tenets state that power hierarchy in governance can be subverted and that the roles that the patriarchal society assigned women were biased, respectively. The analytical research design was adopted. The choice of Maathai‘s Unbowed was purposive due to a realistic perspective that subverts normative gender identity. Data was collected through library search and textual analysis employed in data analysis. The findings indicate that Maathai portrays self as an existing, independent entity rather than one that fits into the patriarchal hysterics of a stereotyped tradition, depicts identities that make her a figure of fascination as a human rights activist, ecofeminist, astute politician and a literary artist. Maathai defines herself as ‗Unbowed‘ which implies defiance and resilience. Maathai‘s emergent subverted portraiture of fearless strength in adversity, creative approach to building a peaceful, healthy planet, empowering women, dismantling patriarchal societal structures and challenging male dominance, as well as recreating legacies culminating into her being crowned a Nobel Peace laureate. She thus subverts the order of doing things. The First person narrative technique, the artistry of the journey motif, the use of metaphorical frames of reference among other autobiographical art forms are effectively used in concretizing Maathai‘s subverted portrait. Unbowed is highly inspirational and Maathai comes out as a role model whose literary journey offer an international celebrity persona. The findings of this thesis will advance women autobiographical literary scholarship, provide legacies and add to policy in gender mainstreaming at the work place and in the society. en_US
dc.publisher Maseno University en_US
dc.title Autobiographical Portrait of Subversion of the Normative Gender Identity In Wangari Maathai’s Unbowed en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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