Challenging Oppressive Norms to Reclaim Agency: A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis of Mastur’s The Women’s Courtyard and A Promised Land


Saman Shakeel, Dr. Umara Shaheen


The study attempts to investigate the complex interplay of gender and power dynamics in Khadija Mastur’s novels The Women’s Courtyard (2018) and A Promised Land (2019), translated into English by Daisy Rockwell. The study examines how female characters, through linguistic choices, negotiate and resist oppressive norms of society by challenging conventional gender roles, reclaiming agency, and negotiating their positions during the partition era. Lazar’s Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis was used as a lens to unveil gender-based power relationships within Mastur’s novels. To analyze lexical and grammatical choices, Fairclough’s three-dimensional model was used to uncover how language legitimizes, sustains, and resists patriarchy that systemically affects the very fabric of society. The three dimensions of this model focus on the functions of language, the production and interpretation of discourse, and the social practices that influence the discourse. The findings of this study highlight that through the use of different lexical choices such as verbs, phrases, metaphors, and symbols, Mastur has depicted the struggle of her female characters living in a patriarchal system to challenge and negotiate societal norms and reclaim their agency.