Edna O'Brien : censorship, sexuality and defining the 'other'
Massey, Kelly Jo
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This thesis explores the works of Edna O'Brien, an Irish female writer whose works span from 1960-present. O'Brien is an imperative author for study as she broke the gender barriers of a double patriarchal system instilled by both Church and State in Ireland. O'Brien chose self-exile in London to write about her native women in spite of the rapacious Irish Censorship Board. In this thesis Judith Butler's theories of gender performativity and gender subversion, Michel Foucault's theories of power, and Chris Weedon's theories of patriarchy and feminism are utilized to demonstrate how O'Brien sought to expose the disenfranchisement of Irish women that persisted in the last half of the twentieth century. Regardless of how some Irish viewed O'Brien as a "fallen colleen", she continues to write stories of women's issues involving their sexuality, place in society, lack of education, lesbianism and even abortion.