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Identify the woman's voice in literature.

We cannot identify a single “woman’s voice” in literature. The woman's voice depends on the situation, character, plot, and sometimes genre. Elizabeth Bennet dares to speak her mind, but Isabel Archer stifles her voice and stays in a loveless abusive marriage. Female characters in Virginia Woolf’s work inhabit a different time and society and have a different voice. In feminist literature, the woman’s voice decries women’s lack of voice or agency in real life.

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We'd caution against trying to confine a woman's voice in literature into a one-size-fits-all definition. A woman's voice depends on the woman speaking. Not all women speak alike.

Think about Jane Eyre. She has a strong, willful voice. She speaks her mind to Mr. Rochester and St. John Rivers. Then there's Bertha Mason. She's confined to Mr. Rochester's attic. She doesn't have a voice; although, she is allowed sounds.

There's also controversial voices like Kathy Acker or Valerie Solanas. These voices articulate violence and new forms of sexuality. For more sexual voices, there’s poets Anne Sexton and Sharon Olds. There’s also the diarist Anais Nin.

There's confident voices such as Sylvia Plath. Maybe you've read "Lady Lazarus". In that poem, she boasts:


Is an art, like everything else.

I do it exceptionally well.

Plath was also quite controversial. Many writers and scholars have been critical of how she includes the Holocaust in her work.

There's also abject, alienated voices. You...

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