Compare The Presentation Of Gender English Literature Essay

T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf were coevalss of each other. Both were born in the 1880s and lived through a clip of cataclysmal universe events and altering societal values. As a consequence of this, they necessarily wrote on many of the same issues and subjects, but that is where the similarities between them end. The two writers may hold grown up within the same universe context and written on the same scope of subjects, but their shared fortunes did non engender solidarity between them. Eliot was a conservatist, a individual who was loath of societal alteration, while Woolf was the exact antonym, a collectivist who supported the move towards an classless society ( McIntire, 2 ) , which is reflected to a great extent through both of their texts. Eliot and Woolf both gave societal commentary on a broad scope of subjects, but this essay will concentrate on one of the most outstanding subjects of their clip and their intrinsic involvements: gender and gender.

Virginia Woolfi??s To The Lighthouse investigates the gender of adult females and challenges the expected functions of the female sex. While the male characters are besides of import within the context of the novel, this probe is achieved chiefly through the word picture of the two chief female characters in the novel, Mrs Ramsay and Lily Briscoe, whose narrations are the most to the full developed throughout the text. In footings of gender functions, both of these characters represent different terminals of the feminist spectrum: Mrs Ramsay represents the ideal adult female of a patriarchal society, while Lily Briscoe represents the exact antonym. She transcends the traditional, patriarchal values of society and becomes a adult female who serves her ain involvements.

Mrs Ramsay is depicted as a maternal and subservient female. She subscribes to the doctrine that adult females exist to be given to the demands of others, to derive and love a hubby and to complement those around them, particularly males. This is exemplified in the line from her interior soliloquy that i??she had the whole of the other sex under her protection ; for grounds she could non explicate, for their gallantry and valouri?? ( 13 ) . In short, Mrs Ramsayi??s end in life was to further the self-importances of work forces and to foster their wellness. Portrayed as a delicate romantic with soft feminine qualities, Mrs Ramsay caters to the demands and involvements of work forces, as the patriarchal society of that clip would anticipate of her.

If Mrs Ramsay is the Victorian erai??s idealistic adult female, so Lily Briscoe is Woolfi??s. Woolfi??s autobiographical essay In A Room of Onei??s Own can be used as a back uping papers to assist us understand her concerns with gender. As it is mentioned in the preface of this papers, the focal point of the essay is on i??the obstructions faced by any adult female who would go an artisti?? ( Woolf, 4 ) . These i??obstaclesi?? , as they are outlined within the text, are the direct consequence of existing in a patriarchal society about as a second-class citizen. Lily mirrors Woolfi??s sentiments in this respect. She represents Woolfi??s thought of what a adult female should be. She is the living image of an independent and free adult female, a modern adult female if you will, unlike her opposite number Mrs Ramsay. Through her, Woolf challenges the attitudes and values of a society in which males are the supreme, undisputed figures of authorization.

Lilyi??s transcendency of these patriarchal values is captured most efficaciously through the procedure and completion of her picture. The painting serves as a symbol of Lilyi??s success. It reflects the impression that a adult female is able to prosecute her ain dreams without the aid of a male or hubby, which deviates from the societal norm within the Victorian epoch. Before Lily, the mental mentality of society was that a adult female could derive felicity merely through functioning a male, either as a married woman or a female parent, which posed many incommodiousnesss for the adult female who wanted more for her life. Ronchetti agrees with this, claiming that i??the relationship between adult females creative persons and society was peculiarly debatable for the adult females of Woolfi??s generationi?? ( 4 ) . In short, the construction of society at that clip restricted adult females from prosecuting and wining at their ain lives. By authorising and showing a character such as Lily Briscoe in To The Lighthouse, Woolf challenged the gender functions of work forces and adult females of her clip and expressed her feminist feelings towards the subjugation of the female sex.

Womans were groomed into being the perfect accoutrements for their hubbies during the Victorian epoch ; they would remain at place, were seen and non heard, were dainty and proper i?? merely like Mrs Ramsay. We see a displacement from this ideal in Woolfi??s text through her building of a strong i??modern womani?? .

Conversely, work forces of the Victorian epoch were expected to be courageous and solid, hardworking and romantic, loyal and gracious i?? basically the same feature we have ever associated with the perfect adult male. Like Woolfi??s text, we see a definite displacement in these expected gender functions in The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock. In this verse form, Eliot turns to the male sex and portrays the new i??modern mani?? through Prufrock who, merely like the i??modern womani?? in To The Lighthouse, has made a going from the ideal Victorian stereotype, but as a adult male. Mitchell agrees with this in his essay on Prufrock, claiming that Prufrock himself is i??shy, cultivated, oversensitive, sexually retarded ( many have said impotent ) , brooding, stray, [ and ] self-aware to the point of solipsismi?? , traits that he believes characterize the i??Man of early Modernismi?? and traits that barely qualify for a strong Victorian adult male.

Prufrock wants to be a desirable adult male, person that is gracious, capturing, passionate ; all features a stereotyped adult female would prize in a possible mate, yet Prufrock knows deep down that he has no opportunity with the adult females in this verse form because, to set it bluffly, he merely does non hold these properties. This is indicated through his i??taking of teai?? . He knows that the extent of his romantic or sexual life will stretch merely so far as the act of imbibing tea and discoursing courteously with adult females, and it will travel no farther because he is non a feasible spouse. He fears rejection and sinks into an compulsion with his ain insecurities and uneasiness, chew overing to himself why he is so unwanted: i??is he acquiring excessively thin? Is his hair acquiring excessively thin? i??

Prufrocki??s sense of insufficiency is besides linked to the manner he sees i??the adult females come and go/Talking of Michelangeloi?? who, in the context of the verse form, is a mention to the perfect male. Women desire a adult male of Michelangeloi??s quality i?? that is apparent through their yak about him i?? but Prufrock will ne’er mensurate up to such a adult male. In this manner, Eliot suggests that it is womeni??s high outlooks of work forces that finally cause them to experience deficient. This is supported one time more through the manner he spots other i??lonely work forces in shirt-sleeves, tilting out of windowsi?? as though he is non entirely in his agony, but all work forces suffer jointly.

In The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock adult females are portrayed as the ruin of the narratori??s felicity and, by extension, the felicity of all males. Through Prufrock, Eliot is acknowledging or at least chew overing that work forces ( particularly i??modern meni?? ) are a new gender lower class. They are unable to fulfill adult females because females are excessively demanding in their hunt for a spouse. In this manner, unlike Woolf, Eliot casts a negative visible radiation on the societal alteration and gender dealingss that accompanied the oncoming of the modern epoch.

By analyzing the manner gender is presented through Woolfi??s text as opposed to Elioti??s, we can see how otherwise the two writers attack the topic of gender and gender dealingss. We have besides seen how their opponent societal and political positions have influenced the manner gender is presented through these texts. Whereas Woolf celebrates societal alteration and the rise of feminism in the modern epoch through Lily, Eliot mourns it through Prufrock, reflecting the two authorsi?? different socio-political values: feminism poetry conservativism. We can see that both writers have used the construct of gender and the different sexes as tools to notice on the province of their society and to show the manner they feel about the altering functions of work forces and adult females.