Austen and Proposals: Why the lack of feeling? Throughout all of Jane Austen’s works, courtship and marriage both play central roles and their dominant presence reflects the importance of women finding a respectable husband during Austen’s time. However, while marriage proposals between two lovers are often high points in novels, Austen treats them almost as an afterthought. Critic G. H. Lewes in an 1859 review deemed that this apparent lack of emotion was a characteristic flaw on Austen’s writing, “She has little or no sympathy with what is picturesque and passionate. This prevents her from painting what the popular eye can see, and the popular heart can feel (THE NOVELS).” While the Austen’s marriage proposals tend to leave some readers emotionally dissatisfied, this plainness is purposeful in that it highlights the main themes of Austen’s works and comments on marriage itself.
Jane Eyre has been both praised and denounced for its portrayal of gender roles. While some critics argue that Charlotte Brontë fails to shatter the misogynistic idealism that trapped women, others contend that she broke traditional gender stereotypes/biases replacing them with feminism. Through the development of Jane as a passionate, rebellious heroine, the creation of a complex power dynamic between Jane and Rochester, and the representation of Jane’s repressed passion through Bertha, Brontë counters sexist prejudice against women ultimately concluding the novel with a strong argument of feminism. Oppressive relationships in Jane’s early childhood fueled the development of her passionate and rebellious disposition. As an orphan reluctantly
And since the stepmother was put under severe social criticism, the heroine’s ‘reaction’ was to associate herself with “the passive, feminine identity of the first queen, avoiding any identification with the active principle embodied in the characterization of the bad mother/witch” (124). As I understand it, the stepmother’s role was to personify the negative role model, the social pariah from which the heroine should steer clear of in order to get her happy ending. Another point of interest in this article is the discussion of “mother-blaming” as a recurrent concept in fairy tales and real life (125). Freud’s mother rejection theory is placed side by side with current feminist psychological studies conducted by Judith Lewis Herman and Helen Block Lewis (125). According to them, Freud’s interpretation “…entirely overlooks the male dominated context” in
336). With the many similarities and allusions du Maurier makes to Brontë’s work, Rebecca lends itself particularly well for this feminist reading as well. As was explored above, the readers’ only way to gather more information about Rebecca, her deviant sexual proclivities, and madness is through the unreliable narration from residents of Manderley as well as the novel’s editorial protagonist. As was suggested by both Williams and Pons, the narrator uses her editorial position to further distance herself from the madness of her predecessor by highlighting her own naiveté and upholding the norms of patriarchy and passive femininity. To keep her position as both Maxim’s living wife and the narrator to the tale, the unnamed heroine had to adhere to these norms to avoid being marginalized in the way that Rebecca seemingly is.
Critics of highbrow literature consider chick lit to be trivial and “trashy fiction” characterized by “connect-the-dot plots” and “identikit covers” (Ferris & Young 2006, 1, Harzewski 2011, 230). Furthermore establish women writers have publicly decried the genre. Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing questions why women would want to write such “instantly forgettable” books adding that it would be better “if they wrote books about their lives as they really saw them and not these helpless girls, drunken, worrying about their weight […]" (Ezard, 2001). Dame Beryl Bainbridge, a five time Booker Prize nominee, dismissed chick lit as being a waste of time and “a froth sort of thing”. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd claimed the novels were “all chick and no lit” and lamented that the novel “once said to be a looking glass of its time [has been] reduced to a makeup mirror” (qtd.
In terms of writing ideology, Marcia Muller advocated extending the boundaries of the genre; the impact of Thatcherism and Reaganism endowed women with individualized power and control; female writers begun to depict how women detectives alleviate their solitariness in the novels (Reddy 197). Moreover, the plot of feminist crime fiction was expanded, which means that specific crime investigation was connected to a larger social problem involved with women’s oppression in the society (Reddy 198). What is worth mentioning is that the author also points out the changes in the theme of violence and resistance in feminist crime fiction. More specifically, using violence has become optional for female detectives, and they often employ violence for defense (Reddy 198-99). And female detectives (for instance, Anna in Liza Cody’s Bad Company, 1982) not only resist against violence and patriarchal control but also fight back against the social containment and gender limitation (Reddy
Jane Austen came up with many literary innovations which differed her from her predecessors. Barbara Hardy even calls her a possible creator of the modern novel. One of the differences between Jane Austen and her predecessor is the way how they wrote about the private world and the public world. The novelists before Austen had kept the balance between the two worlds but Jane Austen created a way, in which these two worlds can be lived together (Hardy 11-14). It is the social background that plays a significant role for Austen’s heroines as their mistakes are influenced by their social companions.
For her fiction, the concept of ‘mother-woman’ is highly important; nonetheless, before addressing that, I will give a short portrait of the author-woman behind it – Kate Chopin herself. Moreover, during her time, a concept of “New Woman” was emerging and her heroines (such as Edna Pontellier, Calixta, Clarisse) reflect some of the characteristics. And finally
Finally, it will conclude by briefly discussing the significance of the extract within the novel’s wider themes. Austen consciously burlesqued other novels intertextuality, such as Ann Radcliffe’s influential Gothic novel, The mysteries of Udolpho (1794). Austen used techniques such as comedic and satirical irony, to break the mould of the expectations of the novel genre. Austen could simply have written in the same gothic sensationalist style, or perhaps a sentimental novel, but she chose not to. Instead, she parodies and undercuts them, with subtle causticness, and ridicule.
Projection of Feminist Elements in the Fictional World of Jane Austen and George Eliot: A Note Dr. S. Chelliah Professor , Head & Chairperson School of English & Foreign Languages Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai – 21. (TN-IND) ______________________________________________________________ An Abstract This article is nothing but a critical evaluation for renowned writers like Jane Austen and George Eliot and the Feminist elements highlighted in their works with their feminine and defiant tone of expression, they left their indelible imprint on the annals of English fiction. In the light of feminist critical theory, it can be the proved that both the writers explored the unexplored sense of agony and complex solitude of women character. This article also throws light on the characters of both the writers, who have developed their self – identity with an optimistic prospect. The term ’Feminism’ is defined by the Webster’s Dictionary as the principle which states that women should have political rights equal to those of men and the movement to win such rights for women and feminists were affected by contemporary scientific ideas about women, by the social conventions governing women’s behaviour, by moralistic and religious advice to women and the ways in which women were imagined in fiction Simone de Beauvoir remarks: “The situation of women is that she – a free and autonomous being like all creatures – neverthless finds her living in a world where men compel