Devil in a Blue Dress
The Representation of Femininity and Class in Walter Mosley's Devil in a Blue Dress College
Traditional qualities of a feminine women usually include a beautiful physique, a gentle, nurturing nature, and a degree of sexual reservation. Throughout literature and film, women that embrace typical ideas of femininity are also portrayed as members of the upper class and the elite, while women who are less feminine and beautiful are represented as lower class or even uneducated and poor. One may not typically consider views of femininity and class as correlating ideals, yet they are often portrayed as such in contemporary art and literature. In Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), there exists a dichotomy between two ideas of femininity embodied in a single female in order to show how different portrayals of femininity are associated with class and status.
In the novel, the character Daphne Monet at times embraces and at times rejects traditional ideals of femininity. The reader is introduced to the character as a white woman with a possible French heritage. When the protagonist, Easy Rawlins, is hired for a job which leads him to search for Daphne, he expects to find a soft, delicate woman who has gotten herself mixed up with the wrong crowd. The two eventually meet and form a connection. She is mysterious and...
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