One of the main characters in the American animated TV series The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-present) is Marge Simpson. Her female identity is represented in the TV series as built on a private conflict between two emotional states, simultaneous but incompatible. She actually feels the desire to construct her identity as an ideal traditional woman, namely, homemaker, wife and mother, but this desire is hindered by all the people surrounding her, from the weird nature of her husband and children to her neighbours’ behaviour. The pilot show (1989) of the TV series includes a scene where the woman’s private conflict is most salient, i.e., that where she writes a Christmas letter to the family friends. In this chapter, I analyse that scene through the linguistic theoretical frameworks and methodologies of stylistics, feminist linguistics and feminist media studies. The text of Marge’s letter linguistically constructs her relatives as a model family, but both the visual level and the discursive level in the scene ironically contradict such construction. Nevertheless, the paralinguistic and non-linguistic signals discernible in the scene do not completely deny her own linguistic performance as a mainstream female figure. Although stereotypical, and although equally parodied in the entire TV series, her personal qualities actually contribute to representing her not as the head of an ideal family, but as a positive and constructive female dramatis persona.

Marge’s Private Conflict in The Simpsons: A Linguistic Analysis

VIRDIS, DANIELA FRANCESCA
2010

Abstract

One of the main characters in the American animated TV series The Simpsons (Fox, 1989-present) is Marge Simpson. Her female identity is represented in the TV series as built on a private conflict between two emotional states, simultaneous but incompatible. She actually feels the desire to construct her identity as an ideal traditional woman, namely, homemaker, wife and mother, but this desire is hindered by all the people surrounding her, from the weird nature of her husband and children to her neighbours’ behaviour. The pilot show (1989) of the TV series includes a scene where the woman’s private conflict is most salient, i.e., that where she writes a Christmas letter to the family friends. In this chapter, I analyse that scene through the linguistic theoretical frameworks and methodologies of stylistics, feminist linguistics and feminist media studies. The text of Marge’s letter linguistically constructs her relatives as a model family, but both the visual level and the discursive level in the scene ironically contradict such construction. Nevertheless, the paralinguistic and non-linguistic signals discernible in the scene do not completely deny her own linguistic performance as a mainstream female figure. Although stereotypical, and although equally parodied in the entire TV series, her personal qualities actually contribute to representing her not as the head of an ideal family, but as a positive and constructive female dramatis persona.
conversation analysis; feminist linguistics; feminist media studies; language and gender; pragmatics; stereotypes; stylistics; The Simpsons
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Virdis_Marge's Private Conflict in the Simpsons.pdf

non disponibili

Dimensione 158.48 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
158.48 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/19608
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact