When fairy godmothers are men : Dickens's gendered use of fairy tales as a form of narrative control in Bleak House

Repository

When fairy godmothers are men : Dickens's gendered use of fairy tales as a form of narrative control in Bleak House

Show full record

Title: When fairy godmothers are men : Dickens's gendered use of fairy tales as a form of narrative control in Bleak House
Author: Smith, Melissa Ann, master of arts in English
Abstract: This paper explores how Charles Dickens’s use of a female narrator in Bleak House (1853) fundamentally problematizes and undermines his use of the fairy tale’s cultural cachet, motifs, and characters to prop up and project his fantasies of the feminine ideal. More specifically, it examines the effects of the thematic presence of several tale-types and stock fairy tale figures on Dickens’s ability to prescribe ideal feminine behaviors, such as incuriosity and selfless obedience, to both his characters and his female audience. Because Esther’s ability to write and her interest in either discovering or constructing her own identity establish her as competitor to the males who attempt to script her life, Dickens tries to control and circumscribe her ability to know and act through her own and other characters’ resemblance to traditional fairy tale character types, especially Bluebeard and Griselda. Esther’s narrative, however, betrays these unnatural delimitations in telltale interruptions and denials as Dickens attempts to circumvent the constraints he has placed on her voice. Esther’s narrative therefore resists but imperfectly overcomes the Victorian male author’s scripting of femininity.
Department: English
Subject: Charles Dickens Bleak House Victorian Fairy Tales Esther Summerson Narratology
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2011-05-3152
Date: 2011-05

Files in this work

Download File: SMITH-MASTERS-REPORT.pdf
Size: 337.4Kb
Format: application/pdf

This work appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full record


Advanced Search

Browse

My Account

Statistics

Information