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Interrupted LifeExperiences of Incarcerated Women in the United States$
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Rickie Solinger and Rebecca Sharitz

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520252493

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520252493.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 03 August 2021

Imagining the Self and Other: Women Narrate Prison Life across Cultures

Imagining the Self and Other: Women Narrate Prison Life across Cultures

Chapter:
(p.196) 36 Imagining the Self and Other: Women Narrate Prison Life across Cultures
Source:
Interrupted Life
Author(s):

Lynne Haney

András Tapolcai

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520252493.003.0037

This chapter describes the effects of incarceration in two very different penal contexts: a community-based prison for women in California and a maximum-security facility for women in Hungary. Based on years of conducting creative writing classes in these prisons, the authors of this chapter trace the imprint the environments left on inmates' imaginations. On the one hand, they explore how the institutional scripts available to the U.S. inmates centered on the individual—usually through narratives of addiction and pathology. Their stories focused on the emergence of new selves freed from old pathologies and ways of being. This focus then led the women to rely exclusively on the “I” in their writing and to represent their experiences in purely personal terms. On the other hand, the authors show how the Hungarian inmates rejected references to the self. The authors conclude about the cultural differences—the relation between guilt and redemption—in these women's worldviews.

Keywords:   California, Hungary, incarceration, self, creative writing, narratives, pathology, cultural differences, guilt, redemption

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