Is Marsha Norman's play "Getting Out" an example of a feminist play?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Getting Out can be seen as a feminist play because of the movement from which it arises and its subject matter.

Norman's drama was written in the late 1970s. During this time in American culture, the feminist movement emerged. This was reflected in the art of the time as the voices of women began to develop. Marsha Norman is a part of this movement. Her dramas focus on women's narratives. She places women at the forefront of her works. Arlene is the focus of Getting Out. The audience sees reality through her eyes, and the way the world is processed is through her frame of reference. This is a feminist idea because, as the protagonist, Arlene subverts the patriarchal narrative structure. Arlene is not an ornament. She is the primary voice. 

The way Arlene's experiences is shown is another example of how Norman's drama could be seen as a feminist work. Arlene tries to reconcile her past and present into a hopeful future. She seeks to overcome the problems she experienced as "Arlie." This includes violence, objectification, and harassment that men perpetrated upon her. This idea is a feminist one because Arlene processes what happened to her instead of remaining silent and acquiescing to a patriarchal order. Arlene has an active voice in the world as she seeks to create her own identity in it. Arlene can be seen as a feminist because she does not accept being a victim to men. She is feminist because she affirms that woman can escape destructive patterns of existence.

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