• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast the representation of femininity in Pygmalion and Wide Sargasso Sea

Extracts from this document...


Compare and contrast the representation of femininity in Pygmalion and Wide Sargasso Sea This paper will attempt to compare and contrast the representations of femininity in the novel Wide Sargasso Sea (WSS) and the play Pygmalion. It will investigate any ways in which the works reflect or challenge commonly held social representations of femininity, and will compare and contrast each representation of femininity and then investigate any themes. It will also consider the counterpoint of masculine representation, and lastly the limitations of a comparison between two texts of different disciplines. These two titles were products of very different cultures; Pygmalion was written in 1912 by the thoroughly British Bernard Shaw, a self-proclaimed feminist, while WSS was written in 1966 by Jean Rhys, a Caribbean Creole (like her main characters) who immigrated to England in her teens. These texts were not intended to be textbooks, or represent any views other than the authors, but by comparing these texts we may find how the ideas of femininity have changed in the intervening years. Shaw's feminism might be expected to have influenced his portrayal of the female characters in his work, so the reader should be aware of a possible feminist subtext. ...read more.


There are many different representations of femininity in these works, and I feel the best way the explore femininity in these works will be to analyse the female characters relationships, and will analyse first the ways the femininity of the main characters is represented in each. In Pygmalion, Eliza's femininity is highlighted firstly by her work; she is referred to in the play at first as simply 'The Flower Girl', and is shown to use her gender to exploit the presumed chivalrous nature of the men; she deceitfully tells Pickering she's 'short for my lodgings', despite having previously said she could change half a crown. There are also repeated worries that Eliza is or could become a prostitute; Eliza herself recognises this, by her statements that she is 'a good girl'. After all, at the start of her training Eliza's aim is to work in a flower shop, yet there is no obvious position ready for her, and when her training is complete she feels unable go back to selling flowers on street corners. ...read more.


Eliza's turning point in the story, where she starts to stand up to Higgins, comes just completing her training and winning Higgins' bet. This is the point where she would be starting her new life, and so it makes sense for her to break off from Higgins. Next I will study the various familial relationships between the female characters. I will begin by analysing the representation of motherhood, a strongly represented relationship in both works. The two main characters in each book each come from essentially single-parent families. In WSS, Antoinette is depicted as being rather attention-starved by her mother Annette, which might explain her hunger for affection with her husband later. This seems similar to her husbands' relationship with her father, whom he feels has disinherited him; but he reacts by masking his emotions, and seems to feel a loving relationship is unnatural. Antoinette does not display any real affection of her own towards her family, and never mentions playing with either her mother or her brother. Higgins seems to have had a similar relationship with his mother in Pygmalion, to whom he displays an almost infantile attachment. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Charlotte Bronte section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Charlotte Bronte essays

  1. Enacting of modern themes and literary devices in To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf.

    absence of feminine beauty the eye is now drawn to objects rather then people. Perhaps there is a reason for this, perhaps Mrs. Woolf meant to show that with Mrs. Ramsay's death things fall apart, get beyond correlation Life seems drifting, as the Ramsay drift over the bay in their

  2. How is happiness conveyed in Jane Austen's Emma and Charlotte Bronte's Villette?

    Villette's final chapter is the most ambiguous sequence of the whole text, in which Lucy almost leaves the conclusion of the novel down to the reader. 'Reader, they were the three happiest years of my life. Do you scout the paradox? Listen' (Villette p.488), she appeals to us. Whether M.

  1. Free essay

    Jane Eyre, its film and sequels whatever their differences- always return to the ...

    by calling her such names and regarding her as a made up specie (Peters 1996) He also calls Jane "little" and "young" a lot and this makes the reader address the age difference giving him dominance again, of age, and experience.

  2. This essay attempts to examine and analyze the autobiographical links in Kafka's fiction Metamorphosis ...

    and his father are the point around which the text, and thus Georg's existence, pivots" <http://www.kafka.org/essays/koopmanWB.htm>. Koopman goes on to further view that "it is only because the father possesses such an epistolary advantage that Georg obeys his commandment to commit suicide.

  1. Pygmalion's title harkened from its predecessor, Ovid's Pygmalion which accounted a woman-hating sculptor falling ...

    (Block 5, page 15) Pygmalion resembled its dramatic ancestors. One of Ovid's Metamorphoses "Pygmalion in Love with a Statue" concerned individual transformation like Shaw's Pygmalion. Shaw's and Ovid's Pygmalion were equally appealing to both artists as they explored the relation between creator and creation.

  2. How does Charlotte Bronte build up tension? Using chapter 23 to illustrate.

    it is clear now that Mr. Rochester has become weaker while Jane has grown in strength-Jane claims that they are equals, but it is obvious that she is more powerful than him. This can also be seen noticeably in the way she teases Rochester with her answers in chapter 37.

  1. Essay on the key theme of alienation in the first two parts of the ...

    and before Emancipation had been Slave Owners. Emancipation brought with it mistrust and bitterness directed from the former slaves to the former slave owners. The former would stand "about in groups to jeer" at Annette. On the first page of the novel we also learn that the family is physically

  2. In Sons and Lovers how does Lawrence challenge conventional attitudes towards social and sexual ...

    This extreme breakdown is very important to the plot as this creates a hatred for the father and an obsession with the mother, reaching a climax with Paul Morel's love for his mother and vice versa. It is debatable to say whether the novel is modernist in the sense of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work