Villains in the family: Monstrous mothers-, daughters- and sisters-in-law
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KünyeYakalı Çamoğlu, D. (2009). Villains in the family: Monstrous mothers-, daughters- and sisters-in-law. In 1st Global Conference (pp. 1-12). Oxford, United Kingdom: The Inter-Disciplinary Press.
The aim of this paper is to explore the representations of in-law women (mothers, daughters and sisters-in-law) as villains in Turkish novel in the early republican period. In another study based on life story interviews (with 18 upper-class elder women from Istanbul) I have illustrated that Turkish women of early republican period (1923-1945) considered their relationships with their in-laws as contentious and full of conflict.i The previous study has shown that a compatible and harmonious relationship may exist between in-law women; however the general experience of in-law relations almost always suggested negativity, conflict, contention and dispute. In other words, most of the interviewees portrayed their in-laws as “villains” of their life stories. The previous data also shows that being a “villain”, in this context, is often connected with the allocation of “power” between the women in the family. Villainy is about power and morality. Stories are generally about a form of power that is at stake. And we read them because we wonder: 1. How far will the villain go on the morality continuum to have that power? In other words, storytelling is based on how people make moral decisions. 2. How will the protagonist fight back? Will she have vigour and strength to do it? The villain, then, is much more than a character who opposes the hero or a deliberate scoundrel or criminal. The villain is the maker, the plotter of the story. In our context, the main concern of the protagonist is not saving the world but having control over her own life and the household. However, the villain in question here has another noteworthy peculiarity. She does not generally show an open antagonism. On the contrary she enters the life of the protagonist in disguise of a mother, a daughter or a sister. She is subtle in deceit and is janus faced.