Term Paper: George Eliot and Feminism

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[. . .] ' The women who inhabited Britain's past lived in physical, mental, and social conditions that prohibited the writing of great literature. Eliot asserts that just like men, women need time, space, financial security, education, support and acceptance from others, and stamina in order to write well. While none of these amenities were even remotely available to the women in British history, Eliot notes that the women portrayed in literature were not really given character and personality.

In the sixteenth century for a woman to have lived a life of freedom being a poet, playwright or writer would mean nervous stress and dilemma, which would have probably killed her. Had she survived, whatever she had written would have been twisted and deformed, issuing from a strained and morbid imagination. It was the relic of the sense of chastity that dictated anonymity to women even so late as the nineteenth century. Currer Bell, George Eliot, George Sand, all the victims of inner conflict as their writings prove, sought ineffectively to hide themselves by using the name of a man. Thus they did homage to the convention, which if not implanted by the other sex was liberally encouraged by them, that publicity in women is detestable.

Adam Bede written by George Eliot, is a simple plot about various people making their livelihood in this world. The tale is about the hardships and sorrows that they encounter along their way. In this book we see Eliot's style of writing quite engaging as she addresses the reader directly about the problems people face. She makes the reader feel as if she is behind the scenes throughout the book telling us about each and every character. She captivates her reader to fall in love with the main character Adam right away. He is the strong, piety person, who pulls us through the book. Dinah is another character, who is the peace and source of goodness in the book who always brings something good in times of stress whenever she appears in the book.

The book, overall is good but can be quite dragging at times too. Although, Adam Bede is the main character in the book, Eliot uses the character of Hetty to raise questions through about the judgmental society. She portrays the image of the women of those times. Throughout the book she is not shown much guidance but being a female she is expected to have a proper code of ethics with her at all times. Eliot herself seems to be fearful of the issues Hetty questions in the book. She is afraid of how the society will accept her character and what consequences she would have to face. The fact that Eliot cannot deal with the society's reaction to Hetty, makes her abruptly bring the novel to a meaningless end. Eliot should have brought Hetty back home before finishing the book, by failing not too, she showed herself to be weak in putting her point-of-view across the society. Since Hetty is not forced to come back home, the society is never forced to change. Eliot in the conclusion does raise several questions about the beliefs of the society, but she fails to live up to her words. All in all, Adam Bede is a good read; Eliot can be quite a competitor to Thomas Hardy's work.

Three elements of Kristeva's thought have been particularly important for feminist theory in Anglo-American contexts:

1. Her attempt to bring the body back into discourses in the human sciences;

2. Her focus on the significance of the maternal and preoedipal in the constitution of subjectivity; and 3. Her notion of abjection as an explanation for oppression and discrimination.

Source: JOUISSANCE: The usual English translation, "enjoyment," does not carry the sexually orgasmic connotation that the French does in addition to the idea of taking pleasure in something]

Theories of the body are really important for feminists because in the past the body was linked with the feminine as being weak, immoral, unclean creatures. For the past thirty years, Kristeva came believed in the theory that connected the mind, body, cultures and nature. She is famously known for her distinction between semiotic and the symbolic. Semiotic is associated with signification of tones, rhythms in practices; such… [END OF PREVIEW]

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