By Annie O. Eysturoy
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Extra resources for Daughters of Self-Creation: The Contemporary Chicana Novel
D. Salinger, Brown Girl, Brownstone (1959) by Paule Marshall, Pocho (1959) by José Antonio Villarreal, and Delia's Song (1988) by Lucha Corpiwe find not only distinct Bildungs experiences in respect to era and social context but also the crucial determinant of gender in the protagonist's Bildungs process. The interplay of tensions between the individual protagonist and his or her social and cultural environment shifts with history: in looking at the development of the Bildungsroman, we thus encounter, for instance, changes that have taken place in self-development reflected in this literary form, changes extending from a male-defined, eighteenth-century concept of Bildung to contemporary female perspectives on identity and self-definition.
The denouement of the Bildungsroman, a generally open-ended conclusion, only reveals her potential for forming her life in accordance with her own convictions and desires. Furthermore, critics Abel, Hirsch, and Langland argue that a distinctive female "I" implies a distinctive value system and unorthodox developmental goals, defined in terms of Page 21 community and empathy rather than achievement and autonomy. The fully realized and individuated self who caps the journey of the Bildungsroman may not represent the developmental goals of women, or of women characters.
In her rebellion against growing up female the adolescent heroine is usually besieged from within and without. She is hampered both by the strength of social institutions designed to prepare her for a subordinate role and by her own inner conflicts and passivity. (137) This thematic consistency continues in female adolescent novels published from 1972 to 1982; although the feminist movement has had some effect, above all in the authors' frequent inclusion of sex, modern feminist consciousness, lesbianism, and other issues of the feminist movement, White finds that most of them resemble past novels of female adolescence and concludes that "substantial change in the fiction of female adolescence may have to await extensive social change; it is certainly revealing that contemporary novelists who Page 18 try to present more positive images of growing up female have difficulty staying within the realistic tradition of the adolescent novel" (173).
Daughters of Self-Creation: The Contemporary Chicana Novel by Annie O. Eysturoy