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.
Rahiminezhad, Vida and Faal Nazari, Mahdieh Sadat
"Irigaray’s Feminine Language in Joyce Johnson’s Minor Characters: A Beat Memoir,"
Journal of International Women's Studies: Vol. 25:
4, Article 17.
Available at: https://vc.bridgew.edu/jiws/vol25/iss4/17