Janet Frame’s A State of Siege (1966) could profitably be included in many classes: Women in Literature, the Female Gothic, and Modernism (the Lyrical Novel), among others. It bears many resemblances to Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse in style, structure and in the way it features a female painter. Not only do the two writers employ the device of ekphrasis --verbal descriptions of a visual work of art -- the language and style employed by both Frame and Woolf help them in formulating an alternative to traditional, “masculine” style. Surprisingly, however, Woolf’s earlier novel might be seen as presenting a more actualized female artist than does A State of Siege. A comparison between the two novels, as well as discussion of several classic films, provide a number of fruitful approaches to teaching A State of Siege.
McQuail, Josephine A.
"“How can Life be still?”: Teaching Janet Frame’s A State of Siege and Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse,"
1, Article 4.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/antipodes/vol29/iss1/4