Wieland As A Gothic Novel

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Charles Brockden Brown’s novel, Wieland, explores the aspects of both a Gothic and sentimental novel. The novel investigates on subjects such as gender norms, religious views, and femininity. Clara, being both the narrator and protagonist, is driven by gender expectations of the eighteenth-century. She resembles the heroine of a gothic novel, but has independence due to her living on her own. Clara breaks through the eighteenth-century thinking that women were passive and ruled by their bodies and their emotions. Charles Brockden Brown’s novel reflects his ability to convey, through Clara’s first person narrative, the shifting instability of a mind swayed by an objective and subjective perspective. Clara, being a woman of the eighteenth-century,…show more content…
Although Clara lived in the Eighteenth-century, she portrayed anything but traditional gender norms. As the protagonist, Clara relays all of the important events in the novel. She is one of the many characters who is affected by all of these “Scooby-Doo” like occurrences. Not only does Brown give his protagonist courage, but he also makes her, at certain instances, daring and fearless. From time to time she has a very objective perspective, for example, when a mysterious voice is coming from her closet she doesn 't quake in fear and run to the arms of a man, “Why then did I again approach the closet and withdraw the bolt? My resolution was instantly conceived, and executed without faltering” (Brown 80), instead of running in terror and letting fear overpower her she calls to the mysterious voice, “I know you well. Come forth, but harm me not. I beseech you come forth” (Brown 81). This objective perspective is anything but normal for a traditional eighteenth-century woman, Clara is fearless in the face of death instead of going to get a man…show more content…
Her nonemotional response to certain things is not always her response to everything, there are instances where Clara is driven by only her emotions. As she narrates her quarrel with Pleyel over her chastity, she becomes completely subjective. She allows her emotion to control her thoughts and rendition of the fight, “Nothing was more evident than that I had taken an eternal leave of happiness. Life was a worthless thing, separate from that good which had now been wrestled from me…” (Brown 126), her bravery has completely dissipated and she is now a fervent woman. Her emotions are a dark cloud over her narrative, they blind her to the truth. Her feminine vulnerability is in full view when Pleyel accuses her of being morally loose with Carwin. When Clara takes on a subjective perspective, her narration becomes untrustworthy. Her emotions not only make her blind to the truth, but they are obstructing her rational thought. On many occasions Clara becomes exceedingly emotionally distraught “my terror made me, at once, mute and motionless”(Brown 57), and due to these unnerving emotions, her narration becomes one of storytelling instead of relaying the true events that unfolded. Her personal feelings have now presented the reader with a mere fantasy. As readers we can see how her fear or anger is
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