UBC Theses and Dissertations
A poetic defiance : the birth of women’s poetry in Iran Amoozegar-Fassie, Farzad
This thesis examines the concept of “motherhood” in the works of renowned Iranian poet Parvin E’tesami (1907-1941). E’tesami’s poetry bequeaths inspiration to Iranian women who search and have searched for the possibilities of revealing their true selves in the face of oppressive cultural practices and political machinations. E’tesami was one of the first poets in the recent history of Iran to advocate an equal and empowered place for women. Through the concept of “motherhood,” she probed female identity, emphasizing and endorsing women’s fostering position, maternal instincts and unique nurturing capabilities. E’tesami expanded the consciousness of a vast number of Iranians by illuminating the roles of women in the political, social and religious spheres. She depicted the female essence through biology and natural characteristics, but at the same time her verse embraced the seemingly contrasting idea of the social construction of women. The notion of “motherhood” in E’tesami’s poems offers Iranian women the foundation for a common voice or a collective goal, but also stimulates the inward—individualized—revitalization of the autonomous self for each reader based on personal beliefs and aspirations. By reconstructing the normative practices of motherhood, E’tesami’s poems generate awareness that helps redraw female consciousness and thereby initiate agency, helping women become agents of resistance who challenge the dominating powers. E’tesami produced a poetic language that is personal and realistic, juxtaposing the uproar of an artist with the anguish of Iranian women. This humanist and feminist approach to poetry introduces readers to liberal themes that challenge social and religious ideals through direct and specific examples of mothers’/women’s positions in Iran.
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