Stoic Farmers, Silent Women: The Portrayal of the Icelandic Family in two Novels by Halldór Laxness

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2008-05-05

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Nobel Prize winning author Halldór Laxness enjoyed using the "typical" Icelandic farmer as his protagonist. Always at his side are his family members, with whom interactions are often very limited and rather reserved. Within the dynamic of this stoic family, there are several discourses to be seen, all of which speak to the state of women and the hierarchy of the family in Iceland during this somewhat depressing time in their history. The minimal presence of voice is apparent throughout the majority of Laxness' works and is especially present in Independent People (1946) and Paradise Reclaimed (1960). A general silence from all characters, husbands and wives as well as sons and daughters, is an important element and helps to better understand the culturally reserved Scandinavian people, especially Icelanders.

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