Politics and the Discourse of Discontent: Female Representations in Herta Müller’s »The Land of Green Plums« Cover Image
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Politics and the Discourse of Discontent: Female Representations in Herta Müller’s »The Land of Green Plums«
Politics and the Discourse of Discontent: Female Representations in Herta Müller’s »The Land of Green Plums«

Author(s): Valentina Glajar
Subject(s): Gender Studies, German Literature
Published by: Editura Universităţii din Bucureşti
Keywords: women under Romanian communism; abortion in communist Romania; Herta Müller;
Summary/Abstract: In this essay, I focus on Müller’s representation of three female characters who illustrate different positions of women in the communist era. The novel’s first-person narrator, Müller’s alter ego, represents an ethnic German woman from an exclusively Banat-Swabian village. This character questions not only the ethnocentrism of ethnic Germans from Romania, but also exposes their involvement with National Socialism during World War II. In analyzing the characters of Tereza and Lola, I argue that they represent contrasting social types as they reflect newly created classes under communism: nomenklatura members and opportunists. Tereza enjoys the privileges of being the daughter of a high-ranking party official, while Lola, a poor woman from the south, becomes a party member in order to escape a life of poverty. In spite of her rare efforts to rationalize and understand the false premises of her position and the ideology she represents, Tereza does not have the freedom or the strength to switch sides. Lola, on the other hand, is expelled from the party post mortem because she commits suicide. Lola’s story brings the sensitive issue of abortion and the communist anti-abortion laws to the foreground as she herself allegedly induces abortion. By creating these characters and their auto-fictional stories, the author tries to discuss traumatic events such as persecution and a scrutinized existence under the eyes of the Securitate, as well as the far-reaching consequences o f a dictatorial regime.

  • Page Range: 127-144
  • Page Count: 18
  • Publication Year: 2005
  • Language: English