Comparing Women In A Year's Spinning And The Awakening

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The sexual transgression of the fallen woman is an act of defiance to the expectations of femininity, which often leads to their death. The death of the fallen woman demonstrates that women who step outside the boundaries of their confinement are ultimately punished. Lord Alfred Tennyson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning use separate spheres to critique Victorian ideals of Christianity, specifically the role that Christianity places onto women as the “angel in the house” and acts as a “curse.” Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “A Year’s Spinning” and Lord Alfred Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” connotes that the curse of the fallen women is that she is fated for death. Victorian ideals of femininity center around the ideal of the angel in the house.…show more content…
In both poems, the men are equated with the sun, which is often a symbol of masculinity or royalty. The speaker from “A Year’s Spinning” sees the young man as a prospect of hope and the potential of love as a form of escape. She is blinded by his promises because her world without him is bleak and devoid of light. Upon seeing Lancelot, the lady of Shalott is entranced by her desire for him and to experience the world as he does. When Lancelot appears, he is seen as this happy go lucky golden boy with little care in the world. Lancelot is surrounded by light imagery that captures the lady of Shalott’s attention, and his agency is the catalyst to her death because it forces her to recognize how limited her own agency is.
Christina Rossetti’s “Beauty is Vain” describes the only viable choices that a woman has, in the Victorian era, is either to remain confined as the angel in the house or figuratively fall from social grace and become the fallen woman, however, both inevitably end up “in a shroud” (l. 16). The lady of Shalott’s rejection of the Victorian values of femininity leads to her ruin as she refuses to accept the boundaries her gender enforces upon her. Death is her only path to
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