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Presentation of Women in the Romantic Period of English Literature- Extended Project

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Anna Murphy

on 15 March 2013

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Transcript of Presentation of Women in the Romantic Period of English Literature- Extended Project

Anna Murphy The Presentation of Women
In the Romantic Period of Engligh Literature. Historical Context Books chosen:
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Persuasion by Jane Austen
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole
The Monk by Matthew Gregory Lewis
The Antiquary by Walter Scott Presentation of women Presentation of Women Aim: How are women portrayed in Literature
Women's equality compared to men
Analyse aspects such as marriage, children, clothes and politics
Plan time effectively Romantic Period was 1770-1847
Saw four Monarchs:
George III, George IV, William IV, Victoria
British Empire expanded and the period also saw the beginnings of the industrial revolution
More Exotic materials and goods were known about, especially by the upper classes
Strict and rigid class boundaries Areas:
Women and the suitability and equality of marriages
Women and their roles as wives
Women and their roles as mothers
Society's expectations of women
The Description of Women
The Treatment of Women
The Social Standing of women
Women and the importance of money Presentation of Women The Description of Women Use of Flower imagery in Persuasion, The Monk and Jane Eyre: 'her bloom had vanished early'; ''flourished in single blessedness'; 'fair as lilies'.
Jane: 'Do you think that because I am poor, obscure, plain and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong!'
Elizabeth: her face is 'rendered commonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes'
Cathy: 'the bonniest eye, the sweetest smile and the lightest foot'
Isabella from Wuthering Heights and Lydia from Pride and Prejudice are both foolish and thoughtless
Scott's novel: 'Old doited hag' All novels describe the younger female characters more than the older females and in much more detatil The Treatment of Women Once married, their wealth became their husbands, they were seen to need protecting and sheltering from the harsh realities. Many female characters are mocked by both authors and other characters
The Monk: women should be sheltered from realities of life
Wentworth: women shouldn't be at sea as they wouldn't necessarily have 'every personal comfort'
Mr Collins: 'Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world or your excellent judgment on all matters within with scope of your understanding'
Mr Dacry gets it really wrong in his proposal
Mr Rochester: 'I don't wish to treat you like an inferior: that is (correcting himself), I claim only superiority as must result from twenty years' difference in age and a century's advance in experience' <--- revolutionary and very uncommon Society's Expectations Social Standing of Women Women and the Importance of Money The Suitability and Equality of Marriages Women and their Roles as Wives Women and their roles as Mothers Historical Context/Background Information Women were expected to have certain accomplishments, be respectful of men, not to be too knowledgeable, be calm and dignified.
Accomplishments seen by many to prove suitability to marriage
P+P: 'all the usual stock of accomplishments...living to be fashionable, happy and merry'
Lady Dalyrymple mocked becuase of false manners
Male author presents women using adjectives like 'lovely and gently'
Jane Eyre breaks the mould - isn't conventional
Elizabeth Bennet's manners 'not of the fashionable world' but had an 'easy playfulness'
Female authors often mock how society thinks women should act ---> breaking free from patriarchal society Women lower in social heirachy than men

Outsiders severely judged

Was a factor in marriage - Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, Wuthering Heights, to some extent Persuasion

Based on birth and money, lots of prejudices.

Jane steadily rises in social standing; Heathcliff = low; Mr Rochester = high but is lowered in standing; Bennet sisters - need financial security. Dependent on their male relatives
Impacted on marriage, inheritance, social standing
Estates entailed to closest male relative, irrespective of females --> P+P, Persausion
Castle of Otranto - Manfred <-- misogynist (complete belief of women's complete inferiority)
Money brings connections and independence for Jane Marriages for love uncommon
Marriages to cousins were relatively normal
Unequal marriages heavily judged and criticised
P+P - Elizabeth and Mr Darcy; Jane and Bingley
Wuthering Heights - 'It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff; so he shall never know how I love him'
Jane and Mr Rochester - social standing of each of them changes, do eventually have a happy ending Expected to be respectful, obedient, uncomplaining, inferior and mainly the sole carer of any children
Women often seen as the property/possesion of their husbands
Castle of Otranto - 'cursed me by her unfruitfulness'
- 'a bad husband is better than no husband at all'
Jane Eyre - equals at the end Mainly the sole carers of any children
Most novels have mother figures as well as, or as a replacement for the biological mother
Persuasion 'becuase I am the poor mother, I am not allowed to stir'
Mrs Bennet 'The business of her life was to get her daughters married'
'It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possesion of good fortune must be in want of a wife'!!!! Strengths Referencing
Finding the sources
Writing the essay
Evaluating the sources Weaknesses Fitting everything in
Being concise
Being efficient in research Why???? Literature Degree (fingers crossed!) Woman Favourite Time period Pride and Prejudice - Love it!!! Curious - not nosy Prepare time management skills ready for Uni start at 3.21
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