Reading: Angel or Monster: Representation of Women in Sri Lankan Period Films


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Angel or Monster: Representation of Women in Sri Lankan Period Films


Thavishi Dharmawimala

University of Kelaniya, LK
About Thavishi
Department of English, Faculty of Humanities
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The idea of femininity and womanhood is one that has constantly been shaped according to ideals of different cultures, traditions, or communities. Despite the general perception that such compartmentalised constructs and expectations of the woman is a thing of the past, it can be observed that they are still recycled and reintroduced implicitly or explicitly through various forms of representation in different societies. A similar trend can be observed in Sri Lankan period films as a motif of the dichotomous female representation is recurrent in those that were produced in the recent past. This is evident in the way feminine images are juxtaposed with the monster-woman type characters to elevate the ‘ideal’ within these films. Moreover, research on the concept of the angel/monster dichotomy originally introduced in Gilbert and Gubar’s (1979) The Madwoman in the Attic uses mostly Eurocentric examples as it is scarcely explored in relation to Asian contexts.  This study aims to explore how the dichotomous motif is construed on screen in relation to Sri Lankan gender norms through the selected films, Vijaya-Kuweni (2012) and Paththini (2016) in order to present a novel conceptualisation of the dichotomy for the local context. Thus, I argue that Sri Lankan period films contain a dichotomous motif of female identity through the construction of related images that may differ from the dominant Eurocentric discourse on the angel/monster concept.
How to Cite: Dharmawimala, T., 2020. Angel or Monster: Representation of Women in Sri Lankan Period Films. Kalyani: Journal of the University of Kelaniya, 34(1), pp.42–64. DOI:
Published on 15 Dec 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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