Jeanette The Wilful Sinner Analysis

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When the girl starts challenging the maternal principles by disclosing her lesbian tendencies, the mother decides to adopt extremes remedial measures, thus turning into the archetypal character of the witch. While this strategy allows her to control her daughter’s behaviour, it destroys the reciprocal trust that links the two female characters. The mother is so determined not to give up on her plans for Jeanette’s future that she decides to turn the whole religious community against the girl, and to physically punish her through starvation and exhausting exorcisms in order to save her daughter’s soul and her own dreams. At this point, the mother seems to be willing to distinguish between Jeanette ‘the Wilful Sinner’, who rejected her teachings and betrayed her publicly, and Jeanette ‘the Perfect Missionary’, the holy instrument she created for the Lord. The maternal aggressive attitude profoundly affects the girl’s trust in the maternal figure. While at first Jeanette saw in her mother a mentor who had …show more content…

For Hirsch, feminist family romances are those novels where the development of female subjectivity and self-empowerment is determined by the continuation of the mother-daughter relationship, as opposed to the previous common rejection of the maternal figure theorised, among others, by Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray. The bond between mother and daughter is re-evaluated and comes to be considered as an important site for female development, and a basis for a vision of gender difference and female specificity. In this type of narratives, women are represented as subjects capable of relating their own stories. However, despite the increased room for the subjective representations of consciousness, the maternal perspective is still silenced under the weight of the daughter 's emerging

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