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Explore the ways in which Collins presents the relationships between men and women in The Moonstone. Do male or female characters have more influence in the novel?

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Introduction

Explore the ways in which Collins presents the relationships between men and women in The Moonstone. Do male or female characters have more influence in the novel? In this essay I will explore the relationships between male and female characters in the novel 'The Moonstone'. This essay will evaluate all of the key characters, from the annoyingly religious Miss Clack to the caring and loving Gabriel Betteredge. I will explore the characters personality and decipher whether male or female characters have more influence in the novel. The book is split into eight narratives written by different characters to show what each character is thinking and to give different perspectives as the events unfold. This technique also adds tension as certain secrets are hidden from individuals so not everyone knows the whole truth. Out of the eight narratives only one is written by a woman (Drusilla Clack) whilst all the others are written by male characters. The female characters in the novel are all very atypical, as they stand up for themselves and do not just give way. This was uncommon in the Victorian era as women had few rights and were not expected to be hot tempered. Miss Rachel, a young lady born into a rich family, acts in an unlady-like manner at certain points in the story, especially when she refuses to give information on what she knows about the diamond. Betteredge, one of the characters who knows Rachel Verinder best, said that he could "Call to mind, in her childhood, more than one occasion when the good little soul took the blame, and suffered the punishment, for some fault committed by a playfellow whom she loved". ...read more.

Middle

The reader feels uncertainty when the book dapples in the secret world of Opium as most readers would not have tried it and therefore do not know how powerful it is and what it can do. Gabriel Betteredge often talks about which side of Mr Franklin Blake's character is shining through, and believes it to be due to all of Franklin's foreign training (Betteredge usually relates his strict character to Franklin's German side, his poeticness to his French side, and his bravery to his English side). This gives Mr Franklin Blake no distinct character. This gives you the impression that Gabriel Betteredge is very stereotypically British, supporting his country and almost believing that the English are superior to others. Godfrey Ablewhite however, has a very different character which is hidden from the public view. He tries to get across the image of a hardworking gentleman who dedicates his life to the many women's charities he patronizes, when he is actually a man swallowed in debt and trying to rob people of their riches to pay it off. His debt was one of the key reasons why he asked to marry Rachel Verinder, as he thought that he would inherit enough money to pay off the debt; however that did not turn out to be the case. When Rachel asked for the marriage to be cancelled, Godfrey did not try to put up any resistance, as he knew that he would not receive the inheritance he had hoped for. ...read more.

Conclusion

A good example of this is Rosanna's letter to Mr Franklin Blake, explaining where the chest is hidden, and inside the chest is Rosanna's narrative which explains events before and after Rachel Verinder's 18th birthday party leading up to Rosanna's suicide told through her point of view. The letter's opening is delayed however, as Limping Lucy refuses to give it to anyone other than Franklin Blake himself. This lets the events at London unfold, and the case of the Moonstone is put on hold for a short period. Limping Lucy is Rosanna Spearman's only friend, and was understandably angry at Franklin as she believed that he forced Rosanna into suicide. Limping Lucy has a severe limp in her left foot, and this may be one of the reasons why she and Rosanna are so good friends, as they both have physical deformities and are rejected by most members of society. I believe that female characters have more influence on the plot of the novel due to their actions which are gradually revealed to the reader. Superficially, male characters seem to have a larger role in the discovery of the secrets behind the moonstone but this is because they are only just digging in to what the female characters already know. The fact that male characters have almost all of the narrations add to the secrecy of the novel and also reinforces the point of male character seemingly having more influence and control of the plot, when all they are doing is discovering what is beneath the surface of an apparently settled world in the novel. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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