Type of Submission

Podium Presentation

Campus Venue

Dixon Ministry Center, Room 101


Cedarville, OH

Start Date

4-10-2013 2:40 PM

End Date

4-10-2013 3:00 PM



Claudia Smith Brinson's short story "Einstein's Daughter" portrays a young nameless girl who is eager to actively participate in life despite her mother's wish for her to wait and be patient. Brinson tells the story from the point of view of the daughter, whose only moniker throughout the story remains "Einstein's daughter," identifying her as the product of a man who says that motion is relative. In fact, Einstein's theory of relativity constitutes a major theme throughout the story, providing a metaphorical paradigm in which to view feminine identity. Likewise, Friedrich Nietzsche's theory of the eternal recurrence of the same and Soren Kierkegaard's concept of repetition may be used as helpful paradigms through which to understand the female experience. The daughter's motion serves as the focal point of conflict in the story; she self-determines to be fast, momentous, and circular, while her mother's (and, by extension, her grandmother's and great-grandmother's) designs for her include the typical feminine regimen: slowness, meekness, patience, and stability. The daughter, by taking on more stereotypically masculine traits and activities, actually enriches the female experience by exhibiting a tendency toward becoming rather than being. "Becoming" here signifies an open-ended and unfinalized process, whereas "being" indicates a fixed and finalized essence. Typically, culture prescribes the feminine mode as one of static passivity and the masculine mode as one of dynamic activity, but Einstein's daughter deconstructs that binary: by breaking out of her rigid female constructs, she approaches a life of radical becoming, which is a richly feminine experience of identity. In fact, Brinson shows through the character of Einstein's daughter that we can think of the female experience in terms of becoming rather than being in three ways: her focus on the relativity of motion and time based upon lifestyle speed, her illustration of Nietzsche's eternal recurrence theory through generational recurrence, and her embodiment of Kierkegaard's concept of repetition as a religious movement from nonexistence to existence.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Apr 10th, 2:40 PM Apr 10th, 3:00 PM

Speed of Light: "Becoming" as a Model of the Female Experience in Claudia Smith Brinson's "Einstein's Daughter"

Cedarville, OH


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