The Pleasure Pilgrim

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The texts that will be analysed and discussed within this essay are The Pleasure Pilgrim (1895) by Amy D’Arcy and The Yellow Drawing Room (1892) by Mona Caird. Both of the texts centre the modern New Woman figure as their protagonist which creates juxtaposition with the traditionally patriarchal male character. D’Arcy and Caird write from the perspective of a masculine narrative voice; Caird in the first person and D’Arcy in the third person. However, both characters are speaking reflectively and the impression is gained that the events depicted haunt their minds due to the cognitive dissonance occurring; as their traditional ideas about gender roles are challenged by the unusually and uncharacteristically unique women that they meet. During the course of this essay the form with which the New Women …show more content…

One of the main challenges New Women writers experienced was escaping the ‘Victorian construction of female sexual desire’ that formed the predominant image that the ‘ideal woman’ (22) should be similar to Coventry Patmore’s ‘Angel in the House,’ or almost identical to Campbell’s ‘retiring, unobtrusive and indistinguishable ’ vision. (22). Rebellion against these then created the ‘image of innate female depravity’ and ‘woman’s strength as a sexual being [was] a constant threat’ for societal and moral dissolution. This gives the impression that the boundaries were polar and definite, however the New Woman ‘cannot be characterised by a single set of ideas’ and the texts exemplify this when comparing The Yellow Drawing Room, The Pleasure Pilgrim and The Buddhist Priest’s Wife (1892) by Olive Schriener.

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