The portrayal of outport women in selected twentieth century Newfoundland writings

Colbert, Mary Rosalie Ledwell (1986) The portrayal of outport women in selected twentieth century Newfoundland writings. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

Although there has been a dramatic upsurge in the amount of literary material regarding life in outport Newfoundland, little has been done in the area of comparison of fictional and non-fictional portrayals. This thesis proposes to examine the presentation of outport women in a selected group of fictional works and to assess, the extent to which these portrayals accurately reflect the actual roles of women in the traditional Newfoundland outport. -- Three writers have been selected to present a cross-section of views covering the period from 1900 to 1980. Norman Duncan, in The Way of The Sea, interprets Newfoundland outport life at the beginning of the twentieth century, presenting women in their traditional roles. By contrast, Margaret Duley, a Newfoundland woman writing about Newfoundland women, develops in her novels multi-dimensional, female protagonists who reflect a new sense of independence and struggle. The third writer to be examined is Michael Cook, whose play Theresa's Creed is chosen because the female protagonist is modeled on a real person, living in a specific location in Newfoundland. This woman, whose values and life patterns were set in the pre-Confederation era, finds herself caught in a tidal wave of change and upheaval of post-Confederation influences. -- The above works, are assessed with reference to a number of non-fictional studies of outport women covering the same time period. The main sources of reference are: Hilda Chaulk Murray's More Than 50%, which is an extensive study covering all phases of the outport woman’s life; Dona Lee Davis Blood and Nerves focusing on the southwest coast and covering both pre-and post-confederation times up until the late 1970’s and Ellen Antler’s study, Women's Work in Newfoundland Fishing Families which deals with the traditional role of women in the outport setting and traces it through the effects of cultural and economic change. -- While all three imaginative writers to be examined reflect to some extent the patterns of life experienced by women in the traditional Newfoundland outport as outlined in these sociological studies, significant differences do occur. These variations can be attributed for the most part both to the attitudes towards women of the respective writers and to the unique personalities of these writers.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5463
Item ID: 5463
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves [89]-92.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1986
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Duncan, Norman, 1871-1916. Way of the sea; Duley, Margaret, 1894-1968--Characters--Women; Cook, Michael, 1933- . Theresa's creed; Women in literature; Women--Newfoundland and Labrador--Social conditions

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