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Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences, 2022, 5(10); doi: 10.25236/AJHSS.2022.051014.

Aging, Gender and Self-construction: An Analysis of “Elderly-Women” Image in Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland


Huang Jing, Tian Yuan

Corresponding Author:
Tian Yuan

School of English Language and Culture, Xiamen University Tan Kah Kee College, Zhangzhou, China


The English-language film Nomadland is based on the documentary literature of American journalist Jessica Bruder. This movie tells the story of Fern, an elderly woman who becomes homeless and unemployed and wanders the highways. While most critics have concentrated on the film’s themes, camera language and narrative style, the protagonist’s image as an elderly woman has received less attention. Therefore, this thesis adopts the theory of the elderly “other” from Beauvoir’s Old Age as a pivot, and analyses the characterization of the protagonist Fern’s image from three aspects, namely, the physical and mental problems, sociability, and subject-identity construction of the elderly women. Fern becomes an elderly “other” in the face of the triple hardships of her own aging, husband’s death and unemployment. However, during the road trip, Fern finally reconstructs her own subjective identity and finds her own value. Through the analysis of the twilight female image created by the film, this paper hopes to draw the attention of researchers and art creators to the age difference of women and the condition of older women, and to provide new perspectives and possibilities for feminist research. 


Nomadland, elderly-women, Beauvoir

Cite This Paper

Huang Jing, Tian Yuan. Aging, Gender and Self-construction: An Analysis of “Elderly-Women” Image in Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland. Academic Journal of Humanities & Social Sciences (2022) Vol. 5, Issue 10: 83-92. https://doi.org/10.25236/AJHSS.2022.051014.


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