Publication details [#5708]

Henitiuk, Valerie L. 2000. Female resistance: Spatial metaphor in Japanese women's literature of the mid-Heian period. Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 142 pp.
Publication type
Ph.D dissertation
Publication language


Spatial metaphor is analyzed as an expression of women's experience and especially as a vehicle for subversive messages of protest and resistance. The images of enclosure and violation are both literal and metaphorical. Two literary works from Japan's mid-Heian period are discussed, namely Michitsuna no Haha's 'Kagerô nikki' and Murasaki Shikibu's 'Genji monogatari', focussing on the varying strategies employed by four female characters for resisting patriarchal oppression. We first describe spatio-sexual metaphor in the 'Kagerô nikki' to demonstrate the narrator's reaction to territorial violation by her husband and others. In the 'Genji', we examine the Akashi Lady's determined resistance to male control of her life, and the Third Princess' retreat within a fictive prepubescent space in an effort to render herself sexually inaccessible. Lastly, we detail the unique case of Oigimi, who starves herself to death in a desperate bid to retain control over her body and life. (Valerie Henitiuk)