Authority Narrating Between She and I
Authority has become conflated with power or control over and, women, almost to a person uncomfortable with hierarchically founded distinctions, shy away from being said to have it in any way. Carol Ascher, in the exciting anthology Between Women, points out a frighteningly poignant stalemate: “feminist attempts to find authority in women while remaining respectfully independent of all authority”. By the nineteenth century, there were two patently distinct realms in which to exercise one’s authority—public and private, inner and outer. In examining Summer and Retahilas with the aim of seeing the recognitions in the moral and physical action of the novels, it is better to look first at Summer. Summer is a persona-novel. As such, it furnishes opportunity to look closely at the vital role of imagery and structure in the relationship between author and narrator in many twentieth century novels.