Adult Learning and la Recherche Féminine: Reading Resilience by Elizabeth Chapman Hoult (auth.)

By Elizabeth Chapman Hoult (auth.)

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Additional resources for Adult Learning and la Recherche Féminine: Reading Resilience and Hélène Cixous

Sample text

For Cixous, the ideal of the passive, somnambulant woman is the foundation of patriarchal oppression. She draws attention to the notion of metamorphosis in the Pygmalion/Sleeping Beauty story and uses it metaphorically to examine the romance narrative: And, whereas he takes (after a fashion) the risk and responsibility of being an agent, a bit of the public scene where transformations are played out, she represents indifference or resistance to this active tempo. Agency in the story is always located in the male in her terms, and, in my metaphorical terms (after Shaw), this translates as the teacher.

In this version, the sculptor himself is in desperate need of transformation, because he is locked up within himself as well as within his studio. Trapped, he is left lonely and living a kind of death-inlife existence. The phobia would be bad enough, were it not for the accompanying adoration of females. He sleepwalks through life, disconnected to Pygmalion ● 33 what is real and instead obsessed with the ideal of feminine perfection. His agony, though, provides the wide-open space of potentiality.

4 Although this study acknowledges the value of such work, it is deliberately seeking a new way of reading transformational learning. Here, the notion of transformation draws on the poetic and the mythical rather than the psychological and social. What is being advanced, therefore, might be described as a tentative application of an Ovidian understanding of transformational learning. The main purpose of this chapter is to explore what such a notion entails and to consider how it might be helpful for the emerging understanding of resilient adult learning.

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