Tess of the D'Urbervilles

The Status of Femininity in "Wuthering Heights" and "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" 12th Grade

Both Thomas Hardy's tragic novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles, set in impecunious rural England, and Emily Bronte's gothic novel Wuthering Heights, established at two adjacent houses in the Yorkshire moors, question whether the imperfect male constructs stem from the gender separatism prominent in the contemporary society or from an inflexible class structure. Thus, these novels raise controversy around the portrayal of their female protagonists. The texts were published in the 1800's, and describe a generation where women had few choices and many obligations - a main concern of both Hardy and Bronte, who were anxious to express their thoughts on the social conventions and propriety at the time. The demise of the female protagonist within both novels involves their relationships with males. In Wuthering Heights, Bronte establishes clear contrasts between the two genders and appears to favor masculinity over femininity while depicting women as indecisive and unstable characters. Similarly, Hardy stresses the dominance of men in all aspects of society through their power and strength (both physical and mental). However, it is the morality of Tess, an exploited female, victim which is championed. Rather than condemning her for not...

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