New PDF release: A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture

By Nancy A. Walker

ISBN-10: 0816617023

ISBN-13: 9780816617029

A Very severe factor was first released in 1988. Minnesota Archive variants makes use of electronic expertise to make long-unavailable books once more obtainable, and are released unaltered from the unique collage of Minnesota Press editions.

"It is a truly severe factor to be a humorous woman." –Frances Miriam Berry Whitcher

A Very critical Thing is the 1st book-length learn of part of American literature that has been regularly overlooked by means of students and underrepresented in anthologies—American women's funny writing. Nancy Walker proposes that the yank funny culture to be redefined to incorporate women's humor in addition to men's, simply because, opposite to well known opinion, ladies do have a feeling of humor.

Her ebook attracts on historical past, sociology, anthropology, literature, and psychology to posit that the explanations for overlook of women's funny expression are rooted in a male-dominated tradition that has formally denied ladies the liberty and self-confidence necessary to the slapstick comedian. instead of a examine of person writers, the e-book is an exploration of relationships among cultural realities—including expectancies of "true womanhood"—and women's funny reaction to these realities.

Humorous expression, Walker keeps, is at odds with the culturally sanctioned excellent of the "lady," and lots more and plenty of women's humor turns out to simply accept, whereas really denying, this excellent. in reality, so much of yankee women's funny writing has been a feminist critique of yank tradition and its attitudes towards ladies, in keeping with the author.

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Additional resources for A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture

Example text

Is your husband the father of this child? " "Well, really" she said, and sniffed. " Having succeeded in denigrating both the narrator's professional status and her womanhood, the clerk turns her over to the nurses and the doctor, who persists in asking her how "we" are feeling. Finally, when her husband says while she is in labor, "I know just how you feel," her anger erupts: My only answer was a word which certainly I knew that I knew, although I had never honestly expected to hear it spoken in my own ladylike voice.

Jackson, best-known as the author of "The Lottery," demonstrates her mastery of humorous writing in this contribution to women's postWorld War II domestic humor. Her primary technique is raising the daily details of motherhood and housekeeping to the absurdity of slapstick comedy, but throughout the book are strong suggestions that the life of the average housewife is repetitive and demeaning. The clearest demonstration of social attitudes that discriminate against women is in the narrator's account of the birth of her third child.

As is the case in women's literature generally, the culture the writer describes is the one that she inhabits, which has significant differences from the majority culture. In some ways, in fact, as I will argue in a later chapter, women's humor resembles closely the humor of a racial or ethnic minority. As corollary to this point, the audience for women's humor, as has also been true of women's literature generally, is primarily other women. "27 Put simply, men have increasingly found her work amusing and relevant because they understand what she is writing about.

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A Very Serious Thing: Women's Humor and American Culture by Nancy A. Walker


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