This is a critical reading of Joyce Johnson’s memoir Minor Characters to investigate the ways women’s language is generated using philosopher Luce Irigaray’s feminist framework of language. This study is library-based research done by a close reading of the memoir. Joyce Johnson was part of the second generation of women Beat writers, and she had a love affair with the main male Beat figure, Jack Kerouac. In Minor Characters, she illustrates the history of the Beat Generation. Irigaray, a Belgian feminist theorist, discusses the concept of feminine language, gender roles, and women’s position in society. Findings illustrate that Joyce Johnson generates feminine language through choice of subject matter deemed unacceptable for the time period, word play, feminine vocabulary, unusual syntax, and by using the female body as a source of meaningmaking. Moreover, in some parts of the memoir, women’s silence also implies a subversive feminist response to language.

Author Biography

Vida Rahiminezhad, Ph. D., is an assistant professor at the Research Institute for Education, Organization for Educational Research and Planning, Iran. She has written a book with Soheila Arabian entitled “Acculturation, Otherness, and Return in Adichie’s Americanah: Outside the Homeland.” It discusses the condition of Nigerian women who have immigrated to the US. Her other book published with two other writers entitled “Asian Women from Different Perspectives” investigated women’s lives in Asia. Email: vrahiminejad@yahoo.com

Mahdieh Sadat Faal Nazari, is a Ph.D. candidate at Azad University South Branch, Iran. Her master’s degree dissertation is titled “Feminine Language and Gender roles in Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters: An Irigarayan Reading.” Currently, she teaches literary courses at Azad University. Email: mahi.f.nazari@gmail.com