Jude the Obscure

The depiction of the female body in Hardy and Moore. College

A focus on the body, especially that of the female body, is integral to Moore's 'Esther Waters' and Hardy's 'Jude the Obscure'. However such an exploration is to extremely different effects. 'Zola repeatedly made use of the metaphor of dissection to describe the task of writing fiction... this gave prominence to the body.' (1) In this manner, both Hardy and Moore attempt to dissect the female body within the dissection of the writing of fiction. Moore's dissection revolves around the body of the servant girl specifically, a trope in which such a body is multifaceted and deceitful. Hardy uncovers something rather different. His dissection of the body, despite an apparent persistence of a 'women's inherent physical weakness', (2) largely focuses on an ungendered body. Rather than the man and woman of married life, Sue and Jude consist of two androgynous halves of a single neutral being.

'The female servant was an ideal subject for the naturalists because she was in their view not fully herself and was composed of many parts. Indeed, servants had to adjust to and adopt their master's timetables and habits, to fit into their master's clothes.' (3) This appears to describe Esther perfectly. The dissection of her body will find that...

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