Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Department

English

Major

English Education

Abstract

This paper examines George Eliot's novel Silas Marner and the compelling argument it asserts against Victorian gender stereotypes. Through the contradictory successes of characters that fail to conform to their expected niches, Eliot presents her revolutionary vision for an androgynous society. Most notably, Silas’s accidental motherhood redeems his purpose while saving Eppie's life, Priscilla's ability to protect the well-being of her family stems from her avoidance of a husband and assumption of a “masculine” managerial position, and Eppie’s idyllic life with Silas is preserved by her refusal to be treated as a possession by male authority figures. Through the experiences of these figures, infused with elements of Eliot’s personal struggles and observations, the author demands a more efficient and effective world that is free from the cumbersome and arbitrary burdens of gender expectations.

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Constance Fulmer

Funding Source or Research Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Presentation Session

Session B

Location

Plaza Classroom 190

Start Date

24-3-2017 4:00 PM

End Date

24-3-2017 4:15 PM

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Mar 24th, 4:00 PM Mar 24th, 4:15 PM

Simulations of the Androgynous Society: Shattering Gender Stereotypes in George Eliot’s Silas Marner

Plaza Classroom 190

This paper examines George Eliot's novel Silas Marner and the compelling argument it asserts against Victorian gender stereotypes. Through the contradictory successes of characters that fail to conform to their expected niches, Eliot presents her revolutionary vision for an androgynous society. Most notably, Silas’s accidental motherhood redeems his purpose while saving Eppie's life, Priscilla's ability to protect the well-being of her family stems from her avoidance of a husband and assumption of a “masculine” managerial position, and Eppie’s idyllic life with Silas is preserved by her refusal to be treated as a possession by male authority figures. Through the experiences of these figures, infused with elements of Eliot’s personal struggles and observations, the author demands a more efficient and effective world that is free from the cumbersome and arbitrary burdens of gender expectations.