A Study of Power Dynamics in Charles Dickens’Great Expectations with Particular Reference to Female Characters
- Argha Goswami
University of Rhode Island, USA
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is a bildungsroman with exceptionally strong women throughout its premise. These women arefar ahead of their times- they are portrayed as heads of households, financially independent, well-recognized, strong characters but irony lies in this victimhood of these women even in the powerful position they enjoy. The novel doesn’t portray many graceful women who are usually seen to be a spirit of Victorian Womanhood. Dickens perplexes us in a way- did he do good by letting women gain agency in his book or did he show the downfall of this agency? Another unintended effect of thisbook was a subtle try at ‘Killing the angel in the house’ in formof Biddy who isn’t as nice as she appears to be on the surface.
Even with all the power vested upon the sewomen, somehow,theyareall bad people and suffer ultimate justice in the course of time. This similar justice system doesn’t seem to work for the men as they get away withall the cruel things they do. This is an honest portrayal of the society- being a woman is an act of resistance, it doesn’t matter what we do or say, the question mark always ends at us. Can Dickens be called a feminist for portraying women that donot confine to domestic ideals? Or is he just a regular women-hater who felt disadvantaged or threatened with respect to women and decided to create a dark image of them all?
This paper attempts to study the social, financial and emotional power dynamics of women in Great Expectations. It also attempts to draw comparison between the role of men and women in the novel.
Key words: Women, Dynamics, Powerful.
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