Women’s Writing and Women’s Culture: Meanings of Domesticity in Prose by Latvian Women Writers

Zita Kārkla

Abstract


Housework that women do has no lasting effects, produces nothing tangible, gives no sense of closure and, for this reason, it is perceived as trivial, mindlessly repetitive, and invisible. However, examining texts by two Latvian women writers Regīna Ezera and Inga Ābele, it can be argued that not only the social context of a woman’s situation is inscribed through her domesticity, but something important about female consciousness is also revealed. Employing various household items – a kettle boiling over, broken glass, an old washing machine, linen towels, etc. – writers mirror the internal emotions of their women characters through vignettes from everyday life. Seemingly insignificant female-driven domesticity serves as a setting where it is possible for women to unfold heavy memories and tell their stories, giving shape to relationships between women. And domesticity’s ability to bring not just physical order, but also link matter to spirit and tie connections with nature and the self is emphasized.

Keywords


feminist criticism; Latvian literature; women writers; housework

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.12697/IL.2015.20.1.16

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ISSN 1406-0701 (print)
ISSN 2228-4729 (online)