Inthe late 1960s and 1970s – Second-wave Feminist criticism in the West had twomain aims.
The first was to analyze literature as vehicle for reproducing andcontesting patriarchal images of women in fictional texts. The second was toidentify and analyze the specificity of women’s writing. It set out to recoverthe lost history of women’s writing and to identify both a difference of viewin women’s writing and a feminine aesthetic.According to Simone De Beauvoir Woman is”defined and differentiated with reference to man and not him with reference toher”. Man discursively constructs woman as his binary opposite. Where she isthe “incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential”, he isthe “Subject, he is the Absolute–she is the other”. Man’s anatomy doesnot impinge in the same way upon his conception of his own subjectivity: he”thinks of his body as a direct and normal connection with the world,which he believes he apprehends objectively, whereas he regards the body ofwoman as a hindrance, a prison, weighed down by everything peculiar toit.
” A woman needs a man, a father, brother, husband, son to make herpresence felt in society. Her identity is dependent on the man who commands herlife. The patriarchal setup both defines a woman and suppresses her. It is themale hegemonic order that decides what identity she dones.
In Burger’s Daughter (1974), Nadine Gordimer uses thebackdrop of imperially controlled South Africa to focus on the protagonist’sassertion of an identity independent of her father’s role. Gordimer exploresRosa’s struggle to feel the constraints placed upon her as a woman living in patriarchaland colonized country. As Simone de Beauvoir in”The Second Sex” states that women are positioned as the other inrelation to the concept of self which has been colonized by patriarchy. Rosabecomes the symbol of the stifling effects of colonization in a country, andGordimer draws a parallel between colonization and patriarchy. In this novel Gordimerportrays the white African woman who belongs to colonial society and yet isalienated because of her identity as she is a “woman”.
Her place in Africansociety is no way different from that of the black Negro and she too feels ostracizefrom the civilized white society.