Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Volume 13. Number3.  September 2022                                             Pp.482-497

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A Critical Stylistic Study of the Notion of Women Empowerment in the
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)

Aya Ali Omar
Department of English.College of Education for Women
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq.
Corresponding Author:

Nawal Fadhil Abbas
Department of English, College of Education for Women
University of Baghdad, Baghdad, Iraq

Received:06/16/2022         Accepted:09/04/2022                 Published:09/24/2022


This study unveils the ideologies of women empowerment encoded in the Mona Lisa Smile movie (2003).  It reveals how the stereotypical image of women born only to be wives and do the duties of upbringing and housework is challenged. Katherine Ann Watson (Julia Roberts), the main character in the movie, wants to make a difference in the next generation of women. She rejects the imposed traditional ideologies. Linguistically, she opposes conventional thinking and seeks to persuade her students that life is about more than getting married. The primary focus of this study is to examine and clarify how the characters’ linguistic choices convey their ideologies concerning the notion of women empowerment. To do this, the researchers apply Jeffries`s (2010) critical stylistics, using of five stylistic tools: Negation, Hypothesizing, Equating and Contrasting, Exemplifying and Enumerating, and lastly, Representing Actions/Events/States. The data for this study consists of four extracts taken from the movie Mona Lisa Smile (2003). The analysis shows that the critical stylistic tools account for a significant portion of the meaning of the text under consideration and contributes to the linguistic formulation of the notion of women empowerment, especially Negation and Hypothesizing processes, which score the highest frequencies while Exemplifying and Enumerating score the lowest.
Keywords: critical stylistics, ideology, Mona Lisa Smile, women empowerment

Cite as: Omar,A.A. , & Abbas, N.F.(2022). A Critical Stylistic Study of the Notion of Women Empowerment in the Mona Lisa Smile (2003) Arab World English Journal, 13 (3) 482-497.



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Received: 06/16/2022
Accepted: 09/04/2022  
Published: 09/24/2022 

Aya Ali Omar is an M.A. candidate at the Department of English, College of Education for Women, University of Baghdad. Her field of study is linguistics and her specialization is concerned with Critical Stylistic approach. Besides, she is interested literature, critical studies and stylistics.

 Nawal Fadhil Abbas is a professor with a Ph.D. in English Language and Linguistics teaching in the Department of English, University of Baghdad, College of Education for Women. Her research interests include pragmatics, stylistics, and critical discoures analysis.