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Fallen Angels in Literature, Essay Example

Pages: 2

Words: 635

Essay

Fallen angels in literature/Braddon: Lady Audley’s Secret, Hardy: Tess od the d’Urbervilles

Introduction

The role of women in society has been a significant theme in literature. This premise is evident in the books Lady Audley’s Secret and Tess of the d’Urbervilles written by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and Thomas hardy respectively. This theme is significant due to the historical context the authors were exploring the issue. Both books explored gender roles in the society according during the Victorian era whereby male dominated with the women restricted to passive roles characterized the society (Hardy and Maier 37). The works explore the situation of women during the Victorian era and their dependence on the male gender economically. The aforementioned literature depicts the evolution of women’s role in the society by contrasting the financially independent and empowered woman with the domesticated woman. The books are instrumental in depicting the shift in the societal perceptions about women during the Victorian era.

When considering the Lady Audley’s Secret, the author focuses on the role of women in marriage dictated by the patriarchal society evidently in the Victorian era. The author uses two characters Clara and lady Audley to contrast the independent woman and the conformist woman (Podgorski 38). Women in this society had to conform to the duties without any regard that they have rights. These roles had the inclination towards domestic matters, which were considered trivial by the men. In the aforementioned work, all the female characters in the novel conform to the roles, which are defined for the female gender. The lady Audley prefers independence to the subdued and passive role of the stereotypic angelic woman of the Victorian era (Podgorski 63). The character defies the societal norms to pursue her interests while ignoring impediments presented by the Victorian. The character, who is portrayed as a bigamist and a murderer, defies the expected roles of her gender. This is spurred by her anger on the society of the overdependence of the womenfolk on the men financially. This cause the character to be involved in criminal and undesirable behavior, due to the imbalance in the empowerment of genders in the Victorian society (Podgorski 49). She portrays undesirable behavior when attempting to secure her economic position in society. The character is sentient that financial stability is only conceivable through marriage. The author uses the character, and her exploits to depict the economic dependence of women in the Victorian society.

In the second book the Tess of the d’Urbervilles, the theme of men domination and women overdependence economically is also apparent. This is through the accounts of the peasant girl Tess who experiences the negative effects of industrialization in a male dominated society. The financial difficulty of Tess and her family forces her to accept the proposal of Alec (Hardy and Maier 74). This subjects the suspect to several negative situations in her relationship with Alec, which she has to endure due to the dependence of the female gender on the men. Tess portrays an educated woman, but is held back by the gender imbalance in the society. This appears to be the unifying aspect of the two works.

Conclusion

In the Victorian era, women appear to be subjected in a male dominated society.  This societal norm leads to the women being dependent to the male gender for their economic needs. This is detrimental since it limits the liberties of the female gender when contrasted with the men in the society. The authors of the aforementioned books explore this aspect using their female characters to depict the situation of women in the Victorian society.

Works Cited

Hardy, Thomas, and Sarah E. Maier. Tess of the D’urbervilles: A Pure Woman Faithfully Presented. Peterborough, Ont: Broadview Press, 2007. Print.

Podgorski, Eveline. Mary Elizabeth Braddon’s “lady Audley’s Secret” and “aurora Floyd” in the Context of Victorian Femininity. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2008. Internet resource.

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