Breaking the Silence of Homer’s Women in Pat Barker’s the Silence of The Girls


  • Indrani A. Borgohain Ph.D. Candidate, University of Jordan, Amman, Jordan


The Iliad, Intertextuality, Adaptation, palimpsestic, Trojan War, patriarchy, feminism


Since time immemorial, women have been silenced by patriarchal societies in most, if not all, cultures. Women voices are ignored, belittled, mocked, interrupted or shouted down. The aim of this study examines how the contemporary writer Pat Barker breaks the silence of Homer’s women in her novel The Silence of The Girl (2018). A semantic interplay will be conducted with the themes in an attempt to show how Pat Barker’s novel fit into the Greek context of the Trojan War. The Trojan War begins with the conflict between the kingdoms of Troy and Mycenaean Greece. Homer’s The Iliad, a popular story in the mythological of ancient Greece, gives us the story from the perspective of the Greeks, whereas Pat Barker’s new novel gives us the story from the perspective of the queen- turned slave Briseis. Pat Barker’s, The Silence of the Girls, written in 2018, readdresses The Iliad to uncover the unvoiced tale of Achilles’ captive, who is none other than Briseis. In the Greek saga, Briseis is the wife of King Mynes of Lyrnessus, an ally of Troy. Pat Barker as a Postmodernist writer, readdresses the Trojan War in his novel through the representation of World War One, with dominant ideologies. The novel illustrates not only how Briseis’s has tolerated and survived her traumatic experiences, but also, how she has healed and composed her fragmented life together. Homer’s poem prognosticates the fall of Troy, whereas Barker’s novel begins with the fall Lyrnessus, Briseis’ home that was destroyed by Achilles and his men. Hence, Pat Barker uses intertextuality in her novel, engages both the tradition of the great epic and the brutality of the contemporary world. She revives the Trojan War with graphic pictorial vividness by fictionalizing World War in her novel. Through her novel, she gives Briseis a voice, illuminates the passiveness of women and exposes the negative traits of a patriarchal society.


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How to Cite

Borgohain , I. A. . (2021). Breaking the Silence of Homer’s Women in Pat Barker’s the Silence of The Girls. International Journal of English Language Studies, 3(2), 10-16.