At this point in time, we cannot honestly speak of feminist criticism as if it were a single, unified approach. As a method, it is still in the process of being forged, and for this reason, I believe it would be more accurate to speak in terms of a variety of feminist approaches, some focusing on women characters, some on women writers, yet others linking up with existing modes of criticism. There is however, one basic assumption that unites all feminist perspectives: They take as given that women are as important as men—that is, they reject the male-centered view of the world according to which men's problems are significant and universal, women's trivial and peripheral. In short, they reject the view that women are "other," and accordingly, they treat the lives and fates of women seriously. Though this assumption may seem to be rather simple, we will see that when applied to works of literature, it often produces a sharply altered perspective which can result in important additions or correctives to previously accepted critical interpretations.



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