How does Wilkie Collins explore the character of Count Fosco in The Women in White? In your answer you must comment on: The writers narrative craft and appeal to the reader
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How dose Wilkie Collins explore the character of Count Fosco in The Women in White? In your answer you must comment on: * The writers narrative craft and appeal to the reader * The writers exploration of language for emotive effect This essay intends to look at how Victorian novelist Wilkie Collins expresses the character of Count Fosco in The Women in White. This essay will look at firstly Collins background and look at the main themes of the novel and what character Fosco plays. This essay will also look at how Wilkie Collins describes Fosco's Figure and his title paying particular notice to Collins' narrative craft and use of language. Finally this essay will look at Fosco's wealth and power over women and how this compares to that of Henry VIII. Wilkie Collins, of all the novelists of the Victorian time, is probably best described as the craftiest. Born in 1824 his work has only recently come into fashion due to his unconventional lifestyle. His reputation has probably come from his well known addiction to opium and his way with women.
It could be said that because of Count Fosco this novel stands out from others of the time. Collins has made Fosco a memorable and enjoyable character in many ways. An obvious way is through the way Collins has described Fosco's figure. Count Fosco is described as "immensely fat" and nearly "sixty years of age". This may conjure images of an old corpulent man and who is perhaps innocent. Fosco's choice of clothes also stands out as he wears "magnificent waistcoats" which gives connotations of Fosco having an expensive and some what extravagant character. In conclusion the description of Fosco's figure and clothes shows perhaps a grand and overpowering however slightly strange and memorable character. Collins craft has created a character that can perhaps be felt sorry for and his use of strong emotive effect has furthered the belief that Fosco is not a spiteful villain but a gentle person or perhaps a very crafty villain. His love and interaction with small animals is very unusual. He is described as having "a cockatoo, two canary-birds, and a whole family of mice." These are not particular common pets and so perhaps show Fosco's wealth as well as unusualness.
In conclusion the character of Count Fosco is explored in many ways. Wilkie Collins has made the book very readable with a fast plot and his unusual life. His craft has been reflected through the character of Fosco and has made him very memorable. The physical appearance of Fosco has convinced the reader that he is not a malicious villain but an innocent obese and old man or maybe a conniving criminal. Fosco's power is of great appeal to the reader and his encounter with a mad dog shows he is mentally strong. Fosco's wealth is also appealing to the reader as perhaps it has made Fosco seem more corrupt but in comparison his love of small animals makes him appear temperate. In comparison to Henry VIII's wealth Fosco use of wealth is also on power and his power over women is also in comparison to Henry VIII. Fosco's power over women appeals to the reader by making him seem innocent however perhaps it indicates an essence of wickedness. The use of emotive language to describe Fosco's unseen beauty is vivid and indicates Collins' passion to create such a remarkable character Peter Luetchford English Coursework: 02/05/2007 Pre twentieth century fiction Page 1
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