Simone de Beauvoir, The Second Sex (1949)
“Simone de Beauvoir’s masterwork is a powerful analysis of the Western notion of ‘woman,’ and a groundbreaking exploration of inequality and otherness. Beauvoir’s pioneering and impressive text remains as pertinent today as it was sixty years ago, and will continue to provoke and inspire generations of men and women to come.” (Publisher’s Website)
Faculty: Jill Fellows
Lecture date: March 10, 2014
- Mediasite (video plus slides)
See also Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.
- How might de Beauvoir interpret Heart of Darkness? (E.g., you could consider what she might say about the female characters, the role of the “other,” freedom, or anything else you think is relevant).
- Both Fanon and de Beauvoir focus on “the Other” in their texts. Do they do so similarly?
- Compare Wollstonecraft’s and de Beauvoir’s texts in terms of one or more of the following: their views of femininity, rhetorical strategy, intended audience.
- Based on her arguments in The Second Sex, what might de Beauvoir say about Freud’s arguments or interpretations in Dora?
- “Yes, women on the whole are today inferior to men; that is, their situation affords them fewer possibilities” (de Beauvoir liii). What is the relationship between choice/freedom and the inferiority of women for de Beauvoir?
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