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The Construction of Female Discourse Authority: An Analysis of To the Lighthouse from the Perspective of Feminist Narratology

To the Lighthouse, one of Virginia Woolf's masterpieces, has caught the attention of literary critics at home and abroad since its publication in 1927. Intensive studies have been made on its advanced feminist implication and unique narrative skills, yet few pay attention to the interaction of these two factors in the novel. Based on the theory of feminist narratology, the paper, through the analysis of narrative voice, narrative focalization and narrative speech in the novel, attempts to explore the effects of its feminist narration, namely how it uses narrative strategies to construct female discourse and establish female authority. The main argument of the paper is that To the Lighthouse is Woolf's intentionally planned narrative subversion of traditional male narrative and exhibition of her unique feminist consciousness. Woolf chooses to use the authorial voice to create a heterodiegetic narrator, laying the foundation for achieving a strong narrative authority. However, the modernist idea requires that the narrator cannot overtly present his or her voice to gain mighty authority. Thus, Woolf effaces the narrator's voice on the surface but retains it with the help of another two narrative techniques. Through the use of variable internal focalization, the authorial voice is kept indirectly by giving more chances to female characters to observe and speak. Through the use of free indirect speech, the authorial voice is preserved directly through being scattered in different characters' speeches. In this way, Woolf finally successfully maintains the feminist authorial voice and wins feminist discourse authority in the novel.

Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse, Feminist Narratology, Discourse Authority, Authorial Voice, Internal Focalization, Free Indirect Discourse

APA Style

Ziying, G. (2023). The Construction of Female Discourse Authority: An Analysis of To the Lighthouse from the Perspective of Feminist Narratology. English Language, Literature & Culture, 8(4), 108-114. https://doi.org/10.11648/j.ellc.20230804.14

ACS Style

Ziying, G. The Construction of Female Discourse Authority: An Analysis of To the Lighthouse from the Perspective of Feminist Narratology. Engl. Lang. Lit. Cult. 2023, 8(4), 108-114. doi: 10.11648/j.ellc.20230804.14

AMA Style

Ziying G. The Construction of Female Discourse Authority: An Analysis of To the Lighthouse from the Perspective of Feminist Narratology. Engl Lang Lit Cult. 2023;8(4):108-114. doi: 10.11648/j.ellc.20230804.14

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
This article is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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