The Womb in The Waste Land: Abortion as Social Failure in “A Game of Chess” * Another Radical Feminism: In Defense of the Woman-Mother *Love in the Convent: Female Friendship and the Failure of Marriage in The History of the Nun

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Hallgren Havlat, Jill
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THE WOMB IN THE WASTE LAND: ABORTION AS SOCIAL FAILURE IN “A GAME OF CHESS” is most concerned with T.S. Eliot’s use of the residents in the aforementioned sequence to communicate his idea that public discourse in England was waging war on the nation’s social and psychic interior by promoting abortions and the use of contraceptives among working-class women. “A Game of Chess” is comprised in part by a scene of two working-class women discussing sex, adultery and most significantly, abortion, in a pub. As this element of The Waste Land is an explicit criticism of the eugenics movement that pervaded British culture following World War I, one misses the essential point of “A Game of Chess” if he or she ignores its construction of abortion and fertility suppression as a kind of war against the working classes. My thesis works to explicate Eliot’s anti-eugenics and anti-abortion message in the text.|ANOTHER RADICAL FEMINISM: IN DEFENSE OF THE WOMAN-MOTHER articulates Christian, feminist view of motherhood and womanhood. It argues that all creation precipitates toward women who cannot be surpassed in importance as regards (pro)creation. The essay shows that while it is true that sexual reproduction is indeed a co-authored activity between man and woman, the apex of it is really in the woman. As Hans Urs von Balthasar writes, “the woman, who is both ‘answer’ and ‘face’, is not only man’s delight: she is…the home man needs” (285).|LOVE IN THE CONVENT: FEMALE FRIENDSHIP AND THE FAILURE OF MARRIAGE IN THE HISTORY OF THE NUN interprets the novella by examining Aphra Behn’s treatment of women’s options regarding marriage, the benefits of an alternative conventual life, the risks in heterosexual love, and even the promises of Sapphic female friendship. The essay explores the early modern women’s problems with marriage and men, and the promises of conventual life, and female friendship as depicted in The History of the Nun. Other critical analyses of the text focus on Isabella’s broken vow to remain in the convent as the source of her ruin at the end of the novella. In contrast, this interpretation argues that Isabella’s execution was precipitated by her abandonment of her fellow nun, Sister Katteriena, with whom I suggest Isabella shared an intense and perhaps romantic friendship.
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