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The Matriarch's Power

A Cross-Cultural Literary Study


Beth Ann Bassein

The Matriarch's Power: A Cross-Cultural Literary Study analyzes older women in literature from various countries to determine both the nature of stereotypes and the conditions under which this age group can be depicted realistically and without prejudice. The literature scrutinized was written primarily in the twentieth century and illustrates how writers utilize older women for satire, humor, and/or castigation of whole societies. Women of means and mothers are often negative depictions whereas women who are activists or adopt a social concern they want remedied are positive depictions. It is made obvious that older women are currently moving beyond roles prescribed for them.