Role of Women in Utopian and Dystopian Novels

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Description de l’éditeur

Being a great lover of mythological tales since childhood, I have early discovered
that certain traits and patterns of behaviour were usually ascribed to certain gender roles.
Yet even within the roles of the respective genders, considerable differences were to be
found. Those who shared many characteristics tended to end in similar ways. Strong and
capable Penthesilea ends dead on the battlefield of Troy and her corpse is raped by
Achilles. Atalanta, who beats male heroes in great adventures is tricked into marriage
against her will, by an offended goddess and a man who is not her equal. Helen’s beauty
has the power to launch thousand ships. Yet Helen herself is only a toy for men and gods.
Penelope sits and weaves for twenty years waiting for her husband to return from a Trojan
war while he is pursued and seduced by enchantresses. The more I read, in mythology and
other fiction, the more often I discovered some endlessly repeating characteristics and
patterns of behaviour of diverse roles.
During my studies I became very interested in gender roles in Anglo-American
literature, again particularly in those of female characters. Female roles in literature were
always the more interesting to me when read from the background of the historical period
in which they were created. Some of those fictional characters reflected the roles women
were expected to fill at that particular age and geographical area. Others again were bad
examples and warnings of what happens to women who do not fit into socially accepted
roles. Once in a while a heroine would rise above the expected roles yet in the end she
would return to the domestic area in which she was expected to be, or she would be
destroyed. Of course there were always exceptions. Yet the first permanent and
recognisable change of such roles in literature becomes obvious at the turn from the 19th to
the 20th century. It is no coincidence that the same time in history marks the rise of the
women’s liberation and suffrage movement with sweeping changes occurring in many
issues of gender and social class. For the next hundred years, the roles and characteristics
of women in literature underwent a greater change than in all previous centuries put
together.

GENRE
Romans et littérature
SORTIE
2009
16 avril
LANGUE
EN
Anglais
LONGUEUR
208
Pages
ÉDITIONS
GRIN Verlag
TAILLE
379
Ko

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