Monday, August 01, 2022

Monday, August 01, 2022 1:51 am by M. in , ,    No comments
A newly published Brontë-related scholar paper:
Seher Özsert 
RumeliDE Journal of Language and Literature Studies, Issue Ö11, 513 - 523, 21.07.2022

The narrator protagonist Lucy Snowe in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Villette is an unconventional figure distinct from the Victorian perception of the ideal woman who is assumed to be physically attractive, affectionate, and submissive. Patriarchal monitoring in the novel is observed through Michel Foucault’s interpretation of Panopticon mechanism to control the society, which is based on spying and surveillance. The novel presents Monsieur Paul as a patriarchal figure monitoring the students and the teachers from his room overlooking M. Beck’s school, which recalls Foucault’s symbolic control tower. As a primary observed figure, Lucy is exposed to religious and sexual oppression by the male characters Monsieur Paul, Père Silas, and Dr. John. She is also restrained physically by the male authority keeping her in the attic and at the corner of the museum. M. Paul’s anger against Lucy’s crossing the conventional boundaries of the feminine intellect drives Lucy to be more eager to learn because his unjust attitude makes her more ambitious to crave for knowledge. Lucy’s first reaction against patriarchal oppression is to repress her desires and she prefers to avoid revealing her feelings. She eventually achieves to gain her independence as a triumphant and confident woman governing her own school in the end. The feminist analysis on the text reveals that Brontë intentionally ends the novel before the arrival of any male figure in Lucy’s life to sustain her liberation and to emphasize once more the rejection of the culturally constructed female qualities. This paper concludes that Brontë portrays the powerful female figure in the end through the initially charmless protagonist Lucy who buries her feelings at first by resisting the patriarchal oppression through her intellect and reconstructs her female identity by the destruction of the suppressive male authority.


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