Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of KUST, Iraq Conference 2022 Pp.126-137
From an Old Problem to a New Solution: Identity and Ideology in The Egg and the
Chicken by Clarice Lispector
Arsalan Afrasyaw Fatah
Near East University, Cyprus
Karzan Aziz Mahmood
Komar University of Science and Technology, Iraq
Jaume I University, Spain
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Received: 1/23/2022 Accepted:4/18/2022 Published: 7/1/2022
This paper analyzes the short story The Egg and the Chicken by Clarice Lispector by examining the issues of identity, ideology and gender. The selected text is one of the outstanding works by this increasingly well-regarded Brazilian author and reappraises the age-old question of which came first: the chicken or the egg. The short story is explicitly concerned with its own dialectical language and the attempt to open up new philosophical perspectives on the long-standing boundaries of this issue through a discussion of the concept of origins and its deconstruction. The formal language employed in the short story seems somewhat contradictory in its effect, primarily due to its syntactic and stylistic simplicity and clarity via short, informative sentences and simple tenses to break down the given mental images. However, the story is notable for obscuring the content, invoking semantic and philosophical engagement by utilizing paradoxical and dialectical expressions. The chicken-egg paradox is both a quotidian metaphor and a multi-dimensional problem that exists on numerous levels. This paper, therefore, examines the language of the short story and seeks to find the answer/s to the dilemma. Unlike the general conception of the problem as an eternal issue or chicken-precedence, this research concludes that Lispector’s work re-addresses and problematizes this age-old question by unfolding several other potential problems or challenges within the paradox by placing a particular focus on the aspects of identity, ideology and gender.
Keywords: Clarice Lispector, gender, identity, ideology, The Egg and the Chicken
Cite as: Fatah, A. A., & Mahmood, K. A. (2022). From an Old Problem to a New Solution: Identity and Ideology in The Egg and the Chicken by Clarice Lispector Arab World English Journal (AWEJ) Proceedings of KUST, Iraq Conference 2022 (1) 126-137.
Althusser, L. (2014). On the Reproduction of Capitalism: Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses. Verso Trade.
BibleGateway. (n.d.). Genesis 1:20-23. Available at
Boulter, J. S. (2001). Partial Glimpses of the Infinite: Borges and the Simulacrum. Hispanic Review, 69(3), 355-377. https://doi.org/10.2307/3247067
Belsey, C. (2009). Constructing the Subject. Feminisms Redux: An Anthology of Literary Theory and Criticism, 164-180.
Cresswell, R. (1902). History of Animals. ST. John’s College. Oxford.
Darwin, C. (1996). The Origin of Species: Oxford World’s Classics. Oxford University Press.
Descartes, R. (Ed.). (2013). Meditations on First Philosophy in Focus. Routledge.
Harasym, S. (1988). Practical Politics of the Open End: An Interview with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Theory, 12(1-2), 51-69.
Hegel, G. W. F. (2018). Hegel: The Phenomenology of Spirit. Oxford University Press.
Irigaray, L. (1985). This Sex which is not One (1977). New York.
Kant, I. (1996). Critique of Pure Reason, trans. Werner S. Pluhar. Hackett Publishing.
Lacan, J. (1970). Of Structure as an Inmixing of an Otherness Prerequisite to any Subject Whatever. The Languages of
Criticism and the Sciences of Man. Macksey & E. Donato, (eds.), (pp. 186-200). Johns Hopkins University Press
Lispector, C (1986), The Egg and the Chicken (G. Pontiero, tans.). Carcanet Press).
Lispector, C. (1992). The Foreign Legion: Stories and Chronicles (Vol. 732). New Directions Publishing.
Manikutty, A., & Mahendran, D. (2015). The Chicken or the Egg Problem Revisited: A New Answer to the Age-Old Question
(February 9, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2562550 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2562550
McCarthy, T. (1979). Marx and the Problem of Ideology. Social Science, 54(4). 204-209.
Read, S. (2007). The law of non-contradiction: New philosophical essays. Available at
Said, E. W. (1979). Orientalism. Vintage.
Satre, J. (1966). Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology. Pocket Books.
Spivak, G. C. (2003). Can the Subaltern Speak? Die Philosophin, 14(27), 42-58.
Woolf, V. (2015). A Room of One’s own and Three Guineas. OUP Oxford.
Žižek, S. (2014). “They Live” (The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology). YouTube. Available at