Type of Submission

Podium Presentation

Keywords

Feminist theory, literary analysis, biological essentialism, patriarchal oppression, gender roles, agency, Nancy Chodorow, Claudia Smith Brinson

Abstract

Claudia Smith Brinson’s short story, “Einstein’s Daughter,” is a coming of age tale about a young girl who must delicately navigate her relationship with her mother in order gain independence. The protagonist, who narrates the story, remains unnamed and is defined mostly in reference to her mother’s lineage. The narrator begins the story with the concept that one’s biologically inherited character traits largely determine one’s future. Alluding to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the protagonist uses her extraordinary speed to travel back in time and explore the previous three generations of families on her mother’s side. She uses her observations to plot the probabilities of her own future based on the characteristics and lives of her predecessors. The protagonist’s struggle for autonomy demonstrates how mother-daughter relationships perpetuate patriarchal gender roles, which inherently marginalize women. Additionally, the protagonist’s flight at the story’s end suggests that women must reject biological essentialism and individuate from their mothers in order to create a sense of self that deviates from patriarchal norms.

Faculty Sponsor or Advisor’s Name

Dr. Peggy Wilfong

Campus Venue

Stevens Student Center, Room 240

Location

Cedarville, OH

Start Date

4-1-2015 2:15 PM

End Date

4-1-2015 2:30 PM

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

 
Apr 1st, 2:15 PM Apr 1st, 2:30 PM

A Daughter's Struggle to Individuate in "Einstein's Daughter"

Cedarville, OH

Claudia Smith Brinson’s short story, “Einstein’s Daughter,” is a coming of age tale about a young girl who must delicately navigate her relationship with her mother in order gain independence. The protagonist, who narrates the story, remains unnamed and is defined mostly in reference to her mother’s lineage. The narrator begins the story with the concept that one’s biologically inherited character traits largely determine one’s future. Alluding to Einstein’s theory of relativity, the protagonist uses her extraordinary speed to travel back in time and explore the previous three generations of families on her mother’s side. She uses her observations to plot the probabilities of her own future based on the characteristics and lives of her predecessors. The protagonist’s struggle for autonomy demonstrates how mother-daughter relationships perpetuate patriarchal gender roles, which inherently marginalize women. Additionally, the protagonist’s flight at the story’s end suggests that women must reject biological essentialism and individuate from their mothers in order to create a sense of self that deviates from patriarchal norms.

 

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