Institute of Literature, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS)
This paper examines narratives of women's marginal position in Bao Ninh's Short Stories and Svetlana Alexievich's Unwomanly Face of War from a feminist narratological approach. In analyzing voices of marginalized women, direct and indirect descriptions of women's beauty and pain, and private-public narratives of women's love stories, this paper aims to identify presentations of women's real authority in the text written by a male author, Bao Ninh, and in the one by a female author. The paper argues that juxtaposing these texts reveals an overturn of the traditional conception of sexual and gender differences. Specifically, distinguishing between male/female discourse does not show powerful /nonpowerful language, but recognizes the real authority of each type of discourse based on sexual differences. The writing also illustrates that masculine language becomes powerless and deficient in the women's world; meanwhile, in writing about herself, woman establishes a type of a powerful feminine discourse, which blends both emotional, enthusiastic, and gossipy characteristics of female language and direct, rational, and strong ones of male language. Thus, the feminists' radical segregation on male/female discourses to overturn masculine authority and create a language for women at par with men has been clearly shifted when comparing the two writers' texts based on the juxtapositional model of the comparative literature.