The representation of women and, more widely, gender, in Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko. College

“Oroonoko” is a work by the first professional woman writer in English literary history. Aphra Behn, who is also an important innovator in the form of the novel, used a narrative voice that combined proximity to her readers with an unusual wealth of detail, while the plot itself involves one of the first examples of the concept of the “noble savage” in literature. Her female personas in the novel are quite interesting to analyse in terms of status, character and role in the development of the events. However, these characters have been relatively side-lined in feminist literary scholarship due to their representation in sexual manner while critics focus on Behn’s biography and her place in literary history (Jung, 2002). The white female narrator of the text is the primary character that feminist scholars or other critics focus on in order to analyse the positive representation of women.

As mentioned before, the narrator of the story in “Oroonoko” is the main interest for readers and critics who are analysing the concept of gender roles from a positive perspective. This white female narrator is no one but the writer – Aphra Behn. The black female character of the story – Imoinda – is depicted as a woman that men are interested...

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