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여성의 섹슈얼리티, 그 재현방식의 딜레마: 샬롯 브론테의 『빌레트』 속 루시를 중심으로
Female Sexuality and Its Dilemma of Representation: The Case of Lucy Snowe in Charlotte Brontës Villette

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Authors
박찬미
Issue Date
2017-02
Publisher
서울대학교 인문대학 영어영문학과
Citation
영학논집, Vol.37, pp. 39-53
Keywords
Charlotte BrontëVillettefemale sexualitydilemma of representationbildungsroman
Abstract
Charlotte Brontës last novel Villette is considered to be a bildungsroman novel by many critics with its storyline in which an orphan named Lucy Snowe who positions herself at the social edges, experiences significant improvement in her socioeconomic status after she moves to exotic place called Villette in Labassecour and becomes a female headmaster of Faubourg Clotilde, her long-cherished dream. In this perspective, Lucy Snowe becomes an indisputable self-made woman inasmuch as she eventually achieves an independent identity and constructs feminine selfhood by enabling herself to be able to enter into the mainstream. Among the critics who consider Villette as a bildungsroman novel is John Maynard, who particularly points out that it is the epic of [Lucys] initiation into sexual awareness(164) and sexual growth(180). While it seems obvious that Lucys sexuality performs a crucial role in forming her selfhood and identity, it is still questionable whether Lucy gets her sexual maturity. In contrast with Maynards reading of Villette as a sexual bildungsroman, in my reading of Villette, I argue that Brontë does not aim to focus on the progressive self-awareness of female sexuality by which her capacity for selfhood and identity is acquired. Rather, such mature female sexuality is presented in the very beginning of the novel; what Brontë problematizes is not whether the female character could achieve her sexual development, but whether she could find a proper representational method for her sexuality that is in accordance with male-centered societal norms. There is a seemed-to-be desirable representational method for female sexuality in a male-oriented society, marriage. However, women in their marriage are subjected to follow male-created wifehood and maternity, and by which to reveal their sexuality. No matter how safe and permanent status the patriarchal marriage system authorizes, it does not reflect women s individual talents and desires and ultimately limits them. In this context, this paper considers Lucy as a type of woman who has a keen insight into the structural absurdity and struggles to find out her own way of sexual representation within the patriarchal society. Lucys representation of her sexuality is attempted to be realized both through a marriage with Paul Emmanuel, which deviates from a patriarchal sense of marriage in that it has willingness and autonomy from the both parts and a few creative and aesthetic methods such as clothing, acting, craft-making, writing, and even improving her own life. In this way, Lucy can successfully represent her sexuality on both a personal and a societal basis. Yet, in spite of Lucys desperate and persistent attempt to represent her sexuality, she meets with resistance from the male-dominated codes and principles. Moreover, the male-oriented society and its power eventually knock her down and end her narrative
Language
Korean
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/138379
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)영학논집(English Studies)영학논집(English Studies) No.37 (2017)
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