Zerrin EREN


In her novel titled The Cleft, Doris Lessing reverses the Creation myths by depicting women as the first humans. Although Lessing presents women as the first humans, a close reading of the novel displays that the writer uses to a great extent traditional gender stereotypes and gender roles. The aim of this paper is to discuss the patriarchal implications in The Cleft to determine the writer’s views concerning the gender role development theories in the last decade of her life. In the novel, the writer presents three periods at the beginning of the history of humans. In the first period, the laziness of the Clefts, the first women, is emphasized. During the presentation of the second and the third periods the reader witnesses the establishment of gender roles and gender role differentiation. This gender role differentiation is presented as a consequence of different innate natures of females and males. The characteristics of the females and the males depicted in the novel are the same with patriarchal gender stereotypical traits. By doing so, Lessing may have indicated that gender stereotypical traits and roles are not culturally constructed, and they are not learned, but they are the inherent characteristics of females and males. This may imply that Lessing may have adopted the sociobiological accounts of gender role development, at least in the last decade of her life-span.

Anahtar Kelimeler

Lessing; Cleft; gender roles; gender stereotypes; patriarchy.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.