Reading The Silence In The Maternal Text Of Carol Shields’ Unless

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Abstract

This article scrutinizes the representation of silence in Carol Shields’ novel Unless. It analyses the problematic behind the mother-daughter relationship between Reta Winters and her daughter Norah by applying the theories of Cixous, Kristeva, Chodorow and Irigaray in relation to maternity and identity. Reta Winters’ so-called ideal life is called into question by her daughter Norah's sitting on the streets with a sign board on her chest with GOODNESS written on it. Reta wonders what she has done wrong throughout her life, and eventually, while writing a novel, starts to realize that she has never created maternal discourse with her daughter. Thus, as the novel unfolds in chapters most of which have adverbs or prepositions as their titles, Reta creates a maternal text, both oral and written, by the end of the story.

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