Feminist literary criticism recognizes that since literature both reflects culture and shapes it, literary studies can either perpetuate the oppression of women or help to eliminate it. Thus, feminist literary critics are motivated to raise questions about literature and literary criticism that are basic to women’s struggle for autonomy: How does literature represent women and define gender relations? Why has literary criticism ignored or devalued women’s writing? How does one’s gender alter the way in which one reads literature? Is there a feminine mode of writing?