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The Woman in White

2019-05-17 来源: 51due教员组 类别: 更多范文

下面为大家整理一篇优秀的assignment代写范文- The Woman in White,供大家参考学习,这篇论文讨论了《白衣女人》。《白衣女人》是英国著名小说家威尔基·柯林斯的代表作之一,这部小说因其复杂而有趣的情节被认为是英国侦探小说的先驱。书中的女性人物作为当时女性形象的代表,由于其鲜明的个性和共同的命运,蕴含着分析和研究的价值和意义。小说让故事中的人物在叙述中讲述自己的经历,每个人都与最后一个人的故事紧密相连。年轻的画家沃尔特·哈特莱特在申请一份辅导工作的路上,遇到了一位身穿白色衣服的女子,帮助她逃离了别人的追逐,这段经历构成了整部小说的背景。

The Woman in White,白衣女人,assignment代写,paper代写,北美作业代写

The Woman in White is one of the representative works of Wilkie Collins, a famous British novelist. The novel is considered a pioneer of British detective fiction because of its complex and intriguing plot. The female characters in the book, as the representative of the female image back then, contain the value and significance of analysis and research due to their distinct personality and common destiny. The novel lets the characters involved in the story tell about their own experiences in the narrative, with each person closely connected with the story of the last one. With recollections, diaries to record daily events, proof letters built into the whole novel, a creative narrative structure is constructed. When the young painter Walter Hartright was on the way to apply for a tutoring job, he met a woman in white clothes and helped her to escape the chase of others. The experience set off the entire novel. In this assignment, the discussion will be around the construction of the female images in the novel, combined with the analysis of the historical and social background of the story. From the analysis, it is observed that despite the different images of females, women were under severe repression and persecution in the male-dominated Victorian period.

Judging from the life of the novelist Collins, he lived through the entire Victorian era. The Woman in White reflects the early and mid-Victorian women's life (Huffels 42). During this period, Britain's middle-class family was dominated by patriarchy and the society largely remained male-dominated. Its dominant belief was that women were inferior to men. In the husband and wife relationship, wives were attachments to their husbands, and the husbands' status was always higher than the wives. This authority level was widely accepted. Due to the special social and political atmosphere, women in this period could only be regarded as daughters or wives of someone, but not independent social beings (Huffels 44). More often, they were regarded as husband's senior servants. They have lost what women should have in terms of social status, and also lost the right to have a voice. The voice of control is considered as a social tool and a form of power exertion and reproduction. It is one of the necessary factors in the social and cultural framework. Therefore, a person's right to speak is subject to many social factors. In Victorian times, the loss of right to speak of women was a result of their passive and oppressed positions in both economy and marriage. This novel has a clear reflection of such a point with the depiction of Laura.

Laura is the daughter of Limmeridge House 's owner. She has all the virtues of women that the man of that era expected. Collins portrays her through the eyes of the young painter Walter. In his eyes, Laura is young and beautiful, slim, gentle, pure and beautiful, charming and delicate... (Collins 22). The author uses a male perspective, sparing no effort to praise her. It is such a female image of a “dream (Collins 25)” for Walter, that made him fall in love at first sight, leading to the later conflict of story. Laura's parents died and her guardian was her uncle Frederick (Collins 38). Apparently, women in the Victorian era did not have the right to own an estate independently. Prior to her father’s death, he had her engage with baronet Sir Percival Glyde. Due to her weak personality and respect for her father, Laura agreed back then. But now she is falling in love with Walter.

Not wanting to violate her father's orders, she said to her mother's sister: "I can never claim my release from my engagement. Whatever way it ends it must end wretchedly for me. All I can do, Marian, is not to add the remembrance that I have broken my promise and forgotten my father’s dying words, to make that wretchedness worse (Collins 201).” Repressed by the authoritative decision of the father, even after his death, Laura still did not dare to resist it. She never dared to say a word of "no" and be honest to her own heart. She pinned her hopes on Sir Glyde and hoped that he would take the initiative to dissolve the engagement. However, Baron was a hypocrite who only took Laura to get her property. He would never take the initiative to dissolve the marriage contract. Instead, he took advantage of Laura’s confession to further secure the engagement. Laura’s hope was shattered, and she obeyed the marriage agreement. From the repression of the father to the repression of the husband, Laura was ready to make the transition.

Before Laura married Sir Glyde, a pre-marriage property agreement was drafted by the family lawyer. Due to the selfishness and cruelty of uncle Frederick and Sir Glyde, the lawyer had no choice but to draft a very unfavorable property contract against Laura. After the marriage if Laura did not give birth to children and died before Sir Glyde, he would inherit all the property of his wife. As a result of oppression by the dominating male voice, all her decisions before being married were up to the guardian, her uncle. Laura lost all the right to speak of property inheritance and distribution. Specifically, “not one farthing of the twenty thousand pounds was to go to Miss Halcombe, or to any other relative or friend of Lady Glyde’s. The whole sum, if she left no children, was to slip into the pockets of her husband (Collins 185).” This means that although Laura hoped she could leave part of the property to her sister, she was not able to do so because of the exploiting contract. As a woman, she could not make her own decisions, and have her own voice. The only thing for her to do was to continue complying with men's wishes and orders.

Under the wealthy appearance of the Sir Glyde, he actually owed a lot of money due to inheritance issues. Laura’s sister Marian found Laura to have changed a lot after the marriage, becoming less and less willing to talk. Laura was just blindly obeying Sir Glyde’s temper and command. In order to repay his debt, Glyde asked Laura to sign a document but did not tell her what the document contained. His attitude towards Laura was like a mastering treating his own property. He was your servant, and was obliged to explain. I am your husband, and am NOT obliged. How much longer do you mean to keep me here? I tell you again, there is no time for reading anything—the dog-cart is waiting at the door. Once for all, will you sign or will you not (Collins 302)?” Roaring from Glyde, he treated Laura in such an arrogant, abusive and rude way, driving Laura to tears in fear. Only with the support of her sister Marian and outside intervention, could she reject the request from her husband. The domineering performance of the husband's rights peaked in this part of the novel. Without the intervention of her sister and Count, she would certainly compromise due to her weak personality. This may be the only time Laura said "no" to her husband in the novel. With her sister falling sick, Laura completely lost her right to speak.

It was a perfecting timing for Marian to fall ill because she overheard the plotting of Sir Glyde about how he could obtain Laura's property. Under the deception of Glyde, Laura was taken to London and drugged (Collins 485), and Glydel's trick was to replace Laura with a very similar figure, the "woman in white" Anne Catherick. After the exchange, they planned to poison Anne to death so Glyde could inherit Laura's huge fortune. After experiencing this series of blows, Laura wad in a state of trance, not very different from a mad person. When Marian finally rescued her from the lunatic asylum, she found that her memory of the ordeal was completely blurred and irreversible. After experiencing the extreme mental devastation, Laura's right to speak as a woman was completely lost. This painful memory has been completely buried in her mind deep down.

There appeared a lot of works about women in madness during the same era of the novel. Some famous examples include the crazy woman in the attic in Jane Eyre (Brontë). The common feature of these women is that all of them are oppressed by the patriarchal society and persecuted by the patriarchal power. In The Woman in White, there is a similar woman persecuted by men and society, Anne Catherick. Because she always liked to wear white clothes, it also became the title of the book. This makes Anne a main character of the story as well. Annie looked exactly like Laura in her innocence and beauty. Her mental development was slow, making her an even more lovable figure. She is actually the illegitimate daughter of Laura's father, and Laura's half-sister. Annie's mother was a maid, and Laura's father had all sorts of affairs in life, even after being married. He did not know about Anne's existence until he died. Anne can be seen as the most obvious evidence of male domination and manipulation with women in the patriarchal society. Anne was locked in a lunatic asylum, also because of male repressing as well, as they became fearful when she had a voice and tried to tell on their secret (Collins 349).

White symbolizes innocence and purity, but also symbolizes the weakness of women, the nameless threat and evil, despair, madness, hatred and death. White almost symbolizes Annie's unhappy life as a woman. Although locked in a lunatic asylum, Anne still managed to get out and wanted to warn Laura, not to marry the Baron. However, she often did not speak clearly, failing to deliver the meaning with words, and people did not know what she wanted to say. In fact, she did not know the exact secret of Glyde, but she just knew there was a secret, and he was not a good man. In the patriarchal society, the simplest and cruelest treatment for women when they resist the authority of men is to declare them to be mad and completely shut them off from society, so that women will lose all their rights completely. Their physical and mental suffering will be the punishment. Annie threatened to expose the secret of Glyde and was locked into the asylum. She escaped from the chase once, but eventually caught, dying from her illness. This crazy image of women is precisely their cry of anger and complaints against the repression on them in the patriarchal society.

"Androgyny" is an important concept used frequently by feminist writers. To feminist thinkers, androgyny represents a feminist value and personality ideal (Kuhn 2). Because women cannot achieve the same status as men in the patriarchal culture, feminist thinkers use the concept of "androgyny" to embody the notion of a perfect "human being" that transcends gender antagonism and at the same time integrates the excellent qualities of men and women. Male and female elements that are diametrically opposed to each other in real life are two aspects of the same entity. Only the harmonious coexistence of the two sexes is the ideal state (Kuhn 6). For writers, great works can only be created by combining different elements into the same character. The idea of androgyny is practiced in Marian in the novel, and as a result, she has become one of the most popular and successful women in the book. As a male writer, Collins was clearly very concerned and sympathetic about the fate of women back then. If Laura and Anne were to represent all the weak, oppressed women of that era, then Marian would represent the heroic rebellious woman, of the writer's ideal female image.

Marian's image is portrayed in the eyes of Walter. In addition to the appearance of Marian, there are numerous qualities that men appreciate in her. “The instant my eyes rested on her, I was struck by the rare beauty of her form, and by the unaffected grace of her attitude. Her figure was tall, yet not too tall; comely and well-developed, yet not fat; her head set on her shoulders with an easy, pliant firmness; her waist, perfection in the eyes of a man, for it occupied its natural place, it filled out its natural circle, it was visibly and delightfully undeformed by stays (Collins 35).” Walter spoke highly of Marian's body, but when he saw Marian's face, he said to himself: "The lady is ugly (Collins 35)!" Collins seems to be trying to keep Marian as Laura’s contrast. When Marian introduced herself to Walter, she said: " I have got nothing, and she has a fortune. I am dark and ugly, and she is fair and pretty (Collins 38).” This shows that although Marian did not have an advantage in physical appearances, she was smart enough to realize it, and took the initiative to minimize the negative impact by finding her own voice.

Another female quality of Marian is reflected as her identity as a half-sister to Laura, unselfishly providing Laura with care and love (Kuhn 6). She has been with Laura in the estate since her mother's death, relieving her sorrows and caring for her. When Laurie had to marry Sir Glyde, Marian was sad for her and kept her company. Marian also lived with Laura even after Laura married, and stayed with her sister no matter what happened. In order to learn about the plotting of Sir Glyde, Marian went to hear their conversation as if she was a witty man. However, women's weaker strengths could not seem to carry her wisdom. When Marian rescued Laurie from the asylum, she took full charge of an older sister's role in taking care of Laura.

If the beautiful body represents the female feature in Marian, then her appearance is the embodiment of the masculine qualities. After seeing her appearance, the expectations of Walter completely disappeared. “The lady’s complexion was almost swarthy, and the dark down on her upper lip was almost a moustache. She had a large, firm, masculine mouth and jaw; prominent, piercing, resolute brown eyes; and thick, coal-black hair, growing unusually low down on her forehead. Her expression—bright, frank, and intelligent—appeared, while she was silent, to be altogether wanting in those feminine attractions of gentleness and pliability, without which the beauty of the handsomest woman alive is beauty incomplete (Collins 36).” Such unusual physical appearances seem to hint on the personality of Marian. Her actions later have fully demonstrated her masculine side (Kuhn 12).

Living in the Limmeridge House, faced with the mean guardian, Mr. Fairlie, Laura and the servants in the house never dared to disobey his orders. But Marian was the only one that he feared, because she was the only one who dared to express her anger and dissatisfaction in front of him. When Marian argued with Fairlie about Laura's unfair property contract, she heavily banged the door (Collins 216), showing her fighting spirit against injustice. Although she did not change Mr. Ferrier's decision, she made her own voice heard, demonstrated her own character and resistance. This was a valuable quality that most women did not have at the time. Living with the newly-wed couple, Marian showed her masculine wit and brave, and most importantly the courage to act. Based on the behaviors of Glyde, Marian was smart to analyze the problems and find solutions. She was among the first to realize Glyde was not a good man.

Marian's most admirable performance was the eavesdropping of the plotting against Laura by Glyde. In order to overhear the two men’s conspiracy, Marian made careful arrangement. She planned to cross the window of her living room to the outside corridor and climb all the way to the place right above the study window, leaning down between flower pots and leaning her ear close to the outside railings (Collins 396). This was a very risky move. In order to be able to successfully achieve the goal, Marian took off her long silk shirt and white dress, put on a dark flannel skirt and travel cloak (Collins 398). This detailed depiction has a strong symbolic meaning: Marian's removal of the white dress means her departure from the female character at this moment, by doing exactly what men can do. After a difficult crawling and careful crossing over flowerpots, she finally completed the task. The ending that Laura finally had a happy life with Walter could not be separated from Marian's masculine and heroic actions. The image of Marian, a female character, is typical example of androgyny. She possesses both the feminine body adored by men, the appearance with masculine features, and the character that makes men admire. It is precisely because of such characteristics of Marian depicted by Collins that made Marian the most vivid and successful female figure in the novel.

In conclusion, there are mainly three images of women analyzed in this essay. The repressed figure of Laura is a typical representation of women from the Victorian era. The tragedy of her is the complete loss of voice and dominations by different male figures in her life: either her father, her guardian, or her husband. The image of Anne can be considered as a rebellion against the male dominated society, with madness being the best proof of the cruelty of the society. Finally, the combination of feminine and masculine features in Marian shows that the author had the ideal image of females in mind. With the gathering of good qualities from both genders, Marian becomes more than a female, but a symbol of women’s liberation and the perfect form of a human being, regardless of gender. The distinctive images of women in The Woman in White have truly reflected the oppression and persecution against women in the Victorian patriarchal society.

Works Cited

• Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre. Penguin Group, New York, N.Y, 1997.

• Collins, Wilkie. The Woman in White. Coradella Collegiate Bookshelf Editions., 2004.

• Huffels, Natalie. "Tracing Traumatic Memory in The Woman in White: Psychic Shock, Victorian Science, and the Narrative Strategy of the Shadow-Bildungsroman." Victorian Review, vol. 37, no. 1, 2011, pp. 42-61.

• Kuhn, Brianna. "Equal Partnerships: Ideal Androgynous Marriages in Jane Eyre and the Woman in White." The Victorian (Dell, Univ. of Sharjah), vol. 2, no. 1, 2014.


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