Forough Emam

DOI Number
First page
Last page


The study intends to examine three major plays by Sam Shepard – “True West”, “Fool for Love”, and “A Lie of the Mind” – to explore the underlying causes of women’s subjugation from Julia Kristeva’s perspective, which is adopted here as the theoretical framework. Kristeva’s views on the exclusion of women from the symbolic order to maintain a gender hierarchy will be utilized to pinpoint the reasons behind men’s violence towards women. Moreover, we shall examine the struggles of female characters to liberate themselves from the oppression of the symbolic order by resisting the demands of patriarchy. The findings suggest that female characters’ attempt to delimit the definition of female subjectivity and motherhood is in line with Kristeva’s promotion of a new interpretation of femininity/maternity. In the study, we have come to the conclusion that, in accordance with Kristeva’s theories, the attempts of women to follow their desire and reconstruct female subjectivity is the ultimate strategy to disrupt patriarchal hegemony.


feminine subjectivity, maternity, femininity, patriarchy, symbolic order, Sam Shepard, Julia Kristeva

Full Text:



Auerbach, D., (1988), “Who was Icarus's Mother? The Powerless Mother Figures in the Plays of Sam Shepard”, In: Kimball King, E. (Ed.) Sam Shepard: A Casebook, New York, Garland: pp. 53-64.

Blaser, A., (2013), Beyond Bedrooms and Kitchens: A Critical Analysis of the Mother Figures in Sam Shepard’s Family Plays, Master’s Thesis, Colorado University.

Crum, J.A., (1993), “I Smash the Tools of My Captivity’: The Feminine in Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind”, In: Wilcox, L. (Ed.) Rereading Shepard: Contemporary Critical Essays on the Plays of Sam Shepard, New York, St Martin’s Press: pp. 196-214.

DeRose, D.J., (1992), Sam Shepard, New York, Twayne.

Gendrich, C., & Hattery A., (2004), “Borderless Academe: "Families in Crisis" and A Lie of the Mind”, Theatre Topics 14, Vol. 1: pp. 293-315.

Hall, A.C., (1993), A Kind of Alaska: Women in the Plays of O'Neill, Pinter, and Shepard, Carbondale, Southern Illinois University Press.

Hart, L., (1987), Sam Shepard’s Metaphorical Stages, New York, Greenwood Press.

Kane, L., (2002), “Reflections of the Past in True West and A Lie of the Mind”, In: Roudané, M. (Ed.) The Cambridge Companion to Sam Shepard, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: pp. 139-153.

Kleb, W., (1981), “Worse than Being Homeless: True West and the Divided Self”, In: Marranca, B. (Ed.) American Dreams: The Imagination of Sam Shepard, New York, Performing Arts Journal Publications: pp. 117-125.

Kristeva, J., (1986), “About Chinese Women”, In: Moi, T. (Ed.) The Kristeva Reader, New York, Columbia University Press: pp. 139-159.

Kristeva, J., (1986), “Stabat Mater”, In: Moi, T. (Ed.) The Kristeva Reader, New York, Columbia University Press: pp. 161-186.

Kristeva, J., (1986), “Women’s Time”, In: Moi, T. (Ed.) The Kristeva Reader, New York: Columbia University Press: pp. 188-213.

Lanier, G.W., (1991), “Two Opposite Animals: Structural Pairing in Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind”, Modern Drama 34, Vol. 3: pp. 410-421.

Marranca, B., (Ed.) (1981), American Dreams: The Imagination of Sam Shepard, New York, Performing Arts Journal Publications.

McDonough, C., (1995), “The Politics of Stage Space: Women and Male Identity in Sam Shepard’s Family Plays”, Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism 9, Vol. 2: pp. 65- 83.

Moore, H., (1994), “The Problem of Explaining Violence in the Social Sciences”, In: Gow, P. & Harvey, P. (Eds.) Sex and Violence: Issues in Representation and Experience, New York, Routledge: pp. 138-155.

Shepard, S., (1987), A Lie of the Mind and the War in Heaven, New York, New American Library.

Shepard, S., (1984), Fool for Love and other Plays, New York, Bantam Books.

Shepard, S., (1981), Sam Shepard: Seven Plays, New York, Bantam Books.

Weber, B., (2000, February 27), “Spring Theatre/Visions of America: An Unusual Case of Role Reversals”, New York Times: pp. 10, 37.

Woolf, V., (1945), A Room of One's Own, Harmondsworth, Penguin.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 0354-4702 (Print)

ISSN 2406-0518 (Online)