Literature as a liberating space for 19th century women: a close reading of the selected works of Christina Rossetti, Emily Bronte and Kate Chopin
AuthorEsha, Nusrat Yasmin
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This thesis fundamentally aims to look at the question of the potency of literature as a space through which women can assert their existence. Literature has been used as a force for social reformation and has been used for a variety of noble purposes. This thesis would question and speculate how far literature has been used as a space for women to assert their existence. Women have always been victims of patriarchal norms and ideologies and during the Victorian era women of England and America have been victims of suppression of free expression. The Victorian era has produced some of the most praiseworthy women writers and poets in English literature and the primary aim of this thesis is to understand that how far were they successful in asserting their existence, their inner being, as women amidst patriarchal norms and values, through the exercise of literature. Through looking at their creative expressions, this paper will assess whether literature can be a liberating space for women and how far is literary expression important to carry forth and convey the limitations of women and the need for women to be emancipated from the subtle chains of patriarchy existentially, psychologically and socially. This study will take four poems of Emily Bronte, I am the only being whose doom, Riches I hold in light esteem, No Coward Soul is mine, To Imagination and three poem of Christina Rossetti Goblin Market, In an Artist’s Studio and Noble Sisters. Apart from that this thesis will also look at Kate Chopin’s short story The Awakening to speculate the reality of the middle class American women during the late 19th century and how far they were, along with other women mentioned in the story, became sufferers of patriarchal system of society which dictated human values and relationships. Furthermore, this thesis will access the probable solution the three women literary creators provided through their literature through which the position of women during the Victorian era can be revisited and its significance comprehended in a new light.