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Gender criticism - Essay Example

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Set in the Victorian era, “Turn of the Screw” depicts the tumultuous experiences of a Governess charged with the responsibility of taking care of two children at her master’s house in Bly. Author Henry James uses an eclectic cast to examine critically the socially…
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Gender criticism
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Download file to see previous pages Throughout the novel, disparities in gender roles emerge whereby the author depicts male characters as the superior sex compared to their female counterparts. Advancing this perception are traditions entrenched within the Victorian era, which influenced the author’s perception of gender. According to the author, females adulated the males regarding them as superior beings capable of making pivotal decisions despite females’ divergent perspectives. In addition, James’ description of females best exemplified real life Victorian women; however, his description of his male characters contrasted that of Victorian males. The Victorian zeitgeist regarded women as proper, docile beings preoccupied with safeguarding their reputations. For example, despite the Governess’ infatuation with her employer, she refrained from acting on her emotions, as she stood to soil her reputation. Conversely, the male characters in the novel were far from being chivalrous or moral men, as were Victorian men. The master of Bly did not concern himself with matters pertaining to the two children left under his charge whereby he opted to hire governesses to take care of the children, as he engaged in selfish pursuits. In addition, a conversation between Mrs. Grose and the Governess revealed that an employee named Quint was sexually promiscuous, a behavior shunned by Victorian males.
The author best exemplified disparities in gender roles through the Governess’s treatment of the children. She expects Flora to be courteous, flawless and conscious about her behaviors. However, she is less critical of Miles’ behaviors bordering on the extent that she encourages him to be a little naughty (James 12- 15). In addition, Miles takes offence when the Governess presumes to compare him to his little sister. He remarked:
An analysis of the main female characters shows that there exist generational differences among the women, which were ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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