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Characters and Genre in the Victorian Love Story Malachi's Cove

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Characters and Genre in the Victorian Love Story Malachi's Cove By Catalina Clema A number of stereotypical characters truly reflect their gender in the love story Malachi's Cove, written by Anthony Trollope in 1864. Trollope's short story refects the values and expectations of people in Victorian times as represented by, or seen through his characters. Men are typically portrayed as logical, physically and mentally strong with their natural place being in the workforce and the outdoors. Women, on the other hand, are portrayed as hysterical, physically and mentally weak with their natural place being in the home and the domestic setting the home provides. These stereotypes are rigid in the genre of the love story, and it is certainly not typical for a man to be in any way weaker then a woman. Taking this into consideration, Malachi's Cove is a very unusual love story. The lead character, Mahala (Mally) Trenglos, a complex, animated character, while retaining the basic stereotypes, does defy a number of the constraints set by both the genre and Victorian times. Mally Trenglos, is a vibrant example of this mixture of defiance and conformity in relation to gender stereotypes and genre conventions within the story or Malachi's Cove. ...read more.


It is this statement that helps solidify Mally's character as being the stereotypical good and pure at heart. It seems, however that this is only a brief reassurance, as Mally then defies all of which she should conform. Mally not only defies stereotypes of dress, and work, but it is now shown that she defies the regulations of religious practice as well. Although there is some evidence of Mally being aware of her wrong-doings in regard to dress within the church ("She had pleaded to the clergyman.... that she had no church going clothes" pg. 89) the way in which she attends church leaves something to be desired, showing her obvious disregard for the conventions imposed upon her by Victorian society ("Mally continued to sit upon the stone bench in her short serge petticoat, with her long hair streaming down her face" pg. 89). Trollope has, however, attempted to give an explanation for Mally's general behaviour, and lack of conformity. The justification is that Mally has been isolated from society, both by her social status as a member of the working class, and her physical location, being situated well away from civilisation. It can also be understood that the lack of a sufficient role model has contributed to Mally's lack of concern for Victorian ...read more.


Barty gathers seaweed not just to make money for his family, but also to master Mally. To want to master a woman can be twisted into by a slight turn of one's attitude, to wanting to have intercourse with her. Says the narrator of Barty's motives: "He would not be beaten by a girl" (pg 96). Mally, although being represented as a young woman who defies the stereotypes of her gender in Victorian times, is ultimately still unable to avoid conforming to the basics of these gender stereotypes. She is a free, wild spirit, but only until a man such as Barty 'chooses' her to be his bride. She becomes submits herself to the life of a stereotypical woman in Victorian, mainly due to the genre of the story needing such an ending in order to fit with its conventions. A different ending would have been too controversial for the time period in which it was written. From this we can also draw the conclusion that it was Mally who rescued Barty literally from the merciless grasp of the water by which he was almost overpowered, but it was Barty who rescued Mally more figuratively from the merciless grasp of being an unconventional working class woman to who would have had no other option but to live her life as a recluse from society. ...read more.

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