Diversities in Ethnic Female Narratology
This book titled Diversities in Ethnic Female Narratology presents a survey of narratological diversification and tries to integrate narratological analyses with ethnic female narratives that are constructed with the act of narration. Ethnic female narratives, constituted from narrations are not only factual and fictional in writings but also in spoken language, and are reconstructed through individualistic stories emphasizing how particular ethnic female experiences have brought unpredictable turns and unexpected developments in diversifying ethnic female narratives. 180 As ethnic female narratives continue to be studied, other discourse styles and narrative patterns may emerge that refine our sense of what constitutes the 'norm' and which may or may not correlate with gender values in various ways. The relationship between gender and narrative structure is thus an indirect and mediated one, inextricably part of the interplay between content, form and context that culminates in the practices of interpreting meanings from a given text. Page 181) Feminist narratolgy seems to have moved some way along the road 'toward' feminist narratology but the question remains how far feminist narratology is still a relevant concern for postclassical narratology and beyond.
Ethnic female narratolology would widen the scope narratology and could be further analyzed within other disciplines and theoretical frameworks. Both Bal (1999) and Warhol (2003) argue for feminist narratology's use within cultural studies. Indeed, there are obvious points of compatibility between narratological concerns such as focalization and theories of the gaze, spectatorship and audience that are of such relevance within the related subfield of feminist film theory. Postmodern feminist narratology has stressed the need to understand gender as a concept inseparable from female narrative but ethnic female narrative stress ethnic and gender as an inseparable aspect in ethnic female narratives.
For example, the relationship between gender and sexuality is highly contentious and has led to confusion within literary studies (Warhol, 2003: 2-3). If the need to disentangle these parameters has been a vexing problem within feminism and literary criticism, it is no less so for feminist narratology. It is here that queer theory may be of use, which itself is dominated by debates about normativity, gender and sexuality, but is crucial in helping the analyst 'to see beyond the limitations of the homo/hetero opposition' (Walters, 1996: 831).
Understanding the relationship between gender and ethnicity may be assisted by the insights of postcolonialism. Given that minority literatures remain an underused resource within thnic female narratology, this kind of theoretical integration is pertinent and in line with recent developments in postclassical narratology (Doyle, 1994; Gymnich, 2002). These kinds of integrations are vital, but are not uncontentious and raise further questions about the relative status of gender within such discussions. For example, does one variable assume priority over the other?
I have proposed that ethnic female narratology is characterized by diversity, including multiplicity along the lines of culture, ethnicity, sexuality and gender issues. Others have argued that these other factors are at least as important as gender (Bing and Bergvall, 1998: 498), in which case the primacy of gender as a 'master' status variable (Bergvall, 1999: 274) is thrown open to debate. This in turn might have significant implications for the status of feminist narratology.
As many would contend, the cause of feminism is not over yet (Bryson, 1999). In this respect, questions about the female-male dichotomy need to be raised as a means of moving towards changing such situations. But in the case of feminist narratology these need to be framed as questions not so much about how women and men might differ as to how stories might function to reinforce or challenge gendered inequalities. Ethnic female narratology needs to narrative frame questions about gender in terms of ranges of possibilities that may be strategically drawn upon in specific contexts.186. Since women are stylistically more flexible than men (Bergvall, 1999: 281) ethnic female narratology by asking questions about gender difference might question whether gender makes a difference in the amount of stylistic variation individuals employ in their storytelling. Eckert and McConnell-Ginet predict that the questions and generalizations to be explored in feminist linguistics will go beyond differentiation of content. They write: Whatever new generalizations about language and gender may ultimately be made, they will shift the focus - away from attributes and toward actions, strategies, and values; away from properties that women and men might have, and toward their social practices and social relations, both same sex and cross-sex. (1999: 198)
It is my hope that ethnic female narratology points where the body of Ethnic female narratology, as are increasingly drawn. The resulting cloth might go on to narratology for some time yet to come. Ethnic female narratology with strands of different ethnic colors and textures will serve many purposes and tell the stories of ethnic female narratives develop towards further opportunities for synthesis and integration.