The Myth of the Woman Warrior and World War II in Soviet Culture
University of Kansas
Slavic Languages & Literatures
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"The Myth of the Woman Warrior and World War II in Soviet Culture" defines, analyzes, and explains the figure of the Soviet "woman warrior" who participated in World War II, asking the questions: what is the nature of the woman warrior in works about World War II and what does her portrayal tell us about Soviet culture and memory? Although the woman warrior has deep roots in Russian culture, this topic has received almost no attention from a cultural perspective. After a discussion of the 1930s militarization, this study turns to works depicting women who participated in WWII and argues that these depictions fall into three types based on deep archetypes: the martyr, handmaiden, and the "polianitsa," or knight. This dissertation elucidates essentialist and constructivist intersections by investigating why certain images of women motivated Soviet citizens during the war and then became powerful myths that shaped national consciousness.