Women’s Individuation in the Works of Pierrette Fleutiaux
Chapter 1: Towards a New Theory of Womanhood
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Towards a New Theory of Womanhood
We yield too much to the ridiculous fear that we are at bottom quite impossible beings.
— C. G. JUNG1
Fleutiaux’s women protagonists are distinctive in that they grow more substantial through crisis moments, overcoming inner and outer challenges to become more fully themselves and to make a contribution to the world around them. As such, they are ‘concrete cases’ which overspill current theoretical and fictional pictures of reality present in feminist theory and contemporary French women’s writing. The purpose of this chapter is to construct a theoretical framework through which Fleutiaux’s representations of women can be examined and evaluated. This framework will be woven from a nuanced understanding of Beauvoir’s concept of womanhood in Le Deuxième sexe, and of women’s agency, bodies, interpersonal relationships and the ongoing creation of society. More focus will then be given to key life stages in Beauvoir’s seminal work. Beauvoir’s emphasis on the external aspects of women’s situation will then be complemented by contributions from the work of Carl Jung on the inner landscape, with once again more detailed highlighting of aspects of his work which intersect with women’s life stages, including the process of becoming that Jung calls ‘individuation’, the individual’s relationships to her parents and to her ← 37 | 38 → romantic partner, and to ageing. The pertinence of this framework to the study of Fleutiaux’s heroines will then be delineated. To achieve this, we...
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