By Elizabeth Allen
An entire size examine of James' use of the "American woman" heroine in his novels, from Daisy Miller via Isabel Archer to Milly Theale and Maggie Verver.
Read Online or Download A Woman’s Place in the Novels of Henry James PDF
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Extra resources for A Woman’s Place in the Novels of Henry James
Like the young women of Europe she seeks to please, but she knows precisely the cost of pleasing. If she does not abandon herself to evil, at least she knows that it exists; and she is remarkable rather for purity of manners than for chastity of mind. 38 As with the 'super-woman' of the 1970s, who was expected to excel simultaneously in the male career world and in the traditional feminine role of homemaker, an apparent radicalisation of the female image is in fact a further distortion, forcing the onus of her oppression on to the woman herself- appearing to give her greater freedom in order to demand exactly the same results, plus.
Full awareness of the place of the subject in a material world, to which it may be object, requires an awareness of the varied responses of others; pure intellect, pure morality, even pure passion deny the validity of the other. James's requirements for a productive relation between the individual and the world are thus not only intelligence, but imagination and irony. 42 A Woman's Place in the Novels of Henry James The structures that James chose to explore these conflicts are many and varied.
If representation creates morality because it necessitates contemplation of meaning, then not only did the pale purity of the New England maiden signify the virtue of puritanism, but her contrasting counterpart- the sensual dark lady- also provoked a moral dilemma for the observer. The division that Fiedler identifies in the classic novels of American literature is between sexual attractiveness and 'pallid' moral virtue, and it is interesting that in Hawthorne, at least, moral purity equates with simplicity, whereas sexuality is linked to complexity-in Hester, Zenobia and Miriam.