Gissing’s The Odd Women and Lawrence’s Women in Love Proposal

July 16, 2021 by Essay Writer

Updated: Sep 5th, 2020

The Odd Women by George Gissing written in 1893 and Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence written in 1920 are two novels which depict different social problems, tell the stories of love and express the social vision of gender in different periods of time. Having considered these two novels and having referred to several gender theories discussed during the 19th and 20th centuries, it should be stated that the relation to gender changed dramatically during 30 years when the novels were written. Taking into account the relationships between Rhoda and Everard in and Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, Rupert Birkin and Gerald Crich in 1920 as the occasional relationships in the periods discussed, it is possible to conclude that social changes affected the gender roles, vision of particular tasks each of them could perform and the actions which were allowed to be completed.

The discussion is to be supported with the existing gender theories to make sure that the changes in the society were subjected to necessary norms. Smith has developed her idea of social inequality in her women’s perspective where she expressed women’s dissatisfaction with the absence of interests. She tried to prove that women have much more interests than just family and households (Smith 21). Patricia Hill Collins expressed her matrix of domination in the book Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment pointing to the power a woman has but met try to oppress this power positioning themselves as the center for discussion (Collins 114). Hegemonic masculinity and patriarchal dividend concepts were considered by R. W. Connell (56) and supported by Judith Butler who also developed Queer Theory (Butler 157). All these theories were discussed during various periods of time, however, reading The Odd Women by George Gissing and Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence it is possible to find the elements of each theory. The discussion is to be taken on the basis of the time perspective paying attention to the social and national consideration of the tome when the novels were written.

Western civilization portrays itself as the one which promotes democracy and equal relationships. However, there were times when the situation in the society negatively affected the development of gender roles making women dependent on the public opinion. The situations changed, people began differently look at the roles and responsibilities of male and female genders, on their rights, however, the predicted attitude in relation to women (Staik 198). The research of the novel is to be conducted from the time perspective. Sakura-Lemessy, Carter-Tellison and Sakura-Lemessy have expressed their opinion about the changes in the English society paying attention to the educational policies (70).

The role of gender in Victorian England was complicated and controversial. This is the period of time when women began to be respected and valued as deserving members of the society. This is the period of time when women began to be pay attention to their education. Each of the novels we are going to speak about does not intentionally stress this idea, but also shows that the role of education was significant. Furthermore, speaking of the changes which occurred from The Odd Women by George Gissing written in 1893 to Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence written in 1920, it is important to refer to the thinking processes. Social opinion was important, however, the attitude to women has changed. Women were considered as those who also have the right to study and get knowledge. Thus, their point of view began to be valued. It should also be mentioned that the patriarchal pattern has been refused giving the way to male supremacy and female democracy. These notions are to be discussed in detail, as the change was rather significant. The first steps in the feminist movements can be seen. It is essential to dwell upon the ideas which were spread in the society about the gender and how these ideas were reflected in the novels. Many authors of Victorian period wrote about women. It also shows that the changes occurred but people were not ready to accept them openly (Auerbach 66).

Therefore, it should be concluded that The Odd Women by George Gissing written in 1893 and Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence written in 1920 were the result of the social changes occurred in Victorian England. The attitude to women changed, therefore, new ideas appeared. Writers were the first who have noticed them and showed in their writings. Speaking of the particular differences in these writings, much attention should be paid to women’s realization of personal self, personal value. Time positively affected women’s realization in the society and the comparative analysis of these two novels should prove this.

Works Cited

Auerbach, Sascha. “”A Right Sort of Man”: Gender, Class Identity, and Social Reform in Late-Victorian Britain.” Journal of Policy History 22.1 (2010): pp. 64-94. Print.

Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.

Collins, Patricia Hill. Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. London: Routledge, 2000. Print.

Connell, Raewyn. Gender. New York: Polity, 2009. Print.

Gissing, George. The Odd Women. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Halliday, Mark. “A Gender Theory.” Ploughshares 35.4 (2009): p. 70. Print.

Lawrence, D.H. Women in Love. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.

Sakura-Lemessy, Ian, Carter-Tellison, Katrina and Donna Sakura-Lemessy. “Curriculum Placement, Race, Class and Gender Differences in Wage Growth Amongst Non-College Workers: Evidence from the NELS 1988–2000 Data.” Journal of African American Studies; 13.4 (2009): pp. 406-430. Print.

Smith, Dorothy. E. “Women’s perspective as a radical critique of sociology.” In The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies, ed. Sandra G. Harding, London: Routledge, 2004. Print.

Staik, Athena. “Gender Theories, Partnerships, Global Transformation.” Peace Review 17.2/3 (2005): pp. 197-206. Print.

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